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An Appreciation of Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989)

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 08:45
The outcome and aftermath of the recent presidential election have unleashed upon the world an enervating, extremist public discourse rooted in divisiveness, intolerance, and discord.  In this language, the moral imperatives of civility, mutual respect, and common sense have been sacrificed to political cant and ethnocentrism.  The politics of insincerity and expediency have become poor substitutes for compassion and statesmanship.  Truth and reason have come […]

Truly Kindred: Paying Homage to Octavia Butler

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:46
How do you celebrate a writer who shook the ground beneath her feet? Who created worlds, manipulated space and time, and walked boldly into unchartered territory? Author of 14 novels, a multitude of science and fantasy short stories, and a crop of critical essays, Octavia Butler’s voice resounds posthumously in the midst of today’s social and political unrest, mounting environmental issues, and pervasive violence. The […]

Juneteenth 2017

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 13:13
Juneteenth is the oldest celebration in America commemorating the abolition of slavery in America. Originating in Galveston, TX, on June. 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced the emancipation of slaves—two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. As this tradition has grown in importance and stature throughout history, Black communities across the country continue to celebrate Juneteenth with great festivity and ceremony. […]

#BrooksFest – The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks

Sat, 06/10/2017 - 11:56
Gwendolyn Brooks would have turned 100 this week and we’re out supporting BROOKSFEST in Topeka, KS. This centennial celebration of her life and legacy features HBW friend Kevin Young, a poetry walk, children’s activities, and much more. Here are some of our favorite tributes to Gwendolyn Brooks A Peek at Gwendolyn Brooks’s Chicago, Then and Now – Adam Morgan A Surprised Queenhood in the New […]


Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:15
[By: Jerry W. Ward Jr.] It might be argued that Langston Hughes’s Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971) can make readers more attentive to combinations of words and music and to the issues of response and interpretation broached in Stephen Henderson’s Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music as Poetic References (New York: William Morrow, 1973). More recent critical discussions […]

The Decarceration of Black America: Notes to a Native Son

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 13:30
  [By: Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] A Preface Q: Should one give critical attention to a stylistically and rhetorically flawed book by a self-proclaimed left-wing Conservative? A: Yes. Q:  Why? A:  If the book tries to examine reasons for “mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” from a black Republican or independently conservative  point of view, it merits attention rather than self-righteous silence.  The book’s failure to meet the […]

Reading the dystopia wherein you live (revisited)

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:00
[By: Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Since January 20, 2017, it is quite fashionable to talk about Donald J. Trump under the influence of reading dystopian or apocalyptic fictions.  There is the possibility that what fifty years ago was accepted as “the news” is now a blatant form of social fiction.  Broadcast from every ideological angle, what seems to be the news is replete with alternative facts and […]


Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:00

The Joy of Refusing

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:15
[By: Jerry W. Ward Jr.] From a pre-future vantage, one can discover the joy of refusing. Refusing or resisting is neither an innate virtue nor a vice, despite the fact that one must ultimately account for the moral properties of one’s actions . Refusing is an opportunity to live with the alternatives that might better identify one’s historicity. Consider the outcomes of refusing to read […]

WRBH Reading Radio Audio Portraits: Dr. Jerry Ward, Professor & Writer

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 08:30
WRBH Reading Radio in New Orleans sat down with Dr. Jerry Ward to talk about his scholarship, travels throughout China, and new poetry collection, FRACTAL SONG. Head over to WRBH for the interview.

Remembering Buchi Emecheta

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 10:00
[By Shelia Bonner] Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta was born July 21, 1944 in Lagos, Nigeria, to Igbo parents, Jeremy and Alice Nwabudinke. Her childhood was spent in Ibusa, the birthplace of her parents. In the 1950s she met her future husband Sylvester Onwordi. Between 1960 through 1966, the young couple bore five kids, two boys and three girls. Emecheta and her husband raised their family in […]

Ann B. Garvin: Educator, Advocate for Women, Children and Youth

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 08:30
Continuing our celebration of “hidden figures” in Kansas, Dr. Maryemma Graham sat down with Mrs. Ann B. Garvin to discuss her lifelong commitment to education and advocacy for women, children and youth.   [By Dr. Maryemma Graham] Mrs. Ann B. Garvin lives in the home her late husband built for her, in a somewhat secluded area of southwest Topeka. It’s hard to catch up with her, […]

GUEST BLOG: Remembering Derek Walcott

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:15
[By Dr. Giselle L. Anatol] Around the year 2000, the University of Kansas hosted the African Studies Association International Conference, and I was delighted to be able to chat for a few moments with Derek Walcott, Nobel Laureate, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow, Guinness Poetry Award winner, Royal Society of Literature Awardee, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, etc., etc. etc. Walcott was a keynote speaker at the conference […]


Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:53
[By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Dear  Congresspersons:                 Either indirectly or directly, all of you are responsible for creating the political climate that encouraged American citizens, with the help of the Electoral College, to elect President Trump.  In the spirit of trying to perpetuate  a liberal democracy , citizens voted.  A number of feel cheated. We have been cheated as  the MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN mantra resounds throughout  the United States. In this Republic, which […]
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