Subscribe to From the History of Black Writing Blog feed From the History of Black Writing Blog
Updated: 29 min 13 sec ago

Instruments of Termination

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 09:01
[Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Mass media and social media do seem to serve the purposes of the Trump administration well. Despite its commitment to inform the public, mass media use half-truths and lies to frustrate the process of thinking in the United States of America. Its agencies profit from the enterprise.  Its agents take delight in toying with issues and ideas, providing scant evidence one might […]

Remembering Robert “Bobby” Sengstacke

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:01
Famed Chicago Defender photographer Robert “Bobby” Sengstacke passed away March 7, 2017. His photos of Black life and culture are widely revered, collected, and published. We celebrate his life and work: The History Makers: Robert Sengstacke Prominent Photojournalist and Former Chicago Defender Editor, Robert A. Sengstacke Dies At 73 National Association of Black Journalists (Chicago Chapter): Remembering Famed Photographer Robert “Bobby” A. Sengstacke Images of Black Chicago, The Robert Sengstacke Archive […]

Remembering Jerrie Louise Cobb Scott

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:15
[Dr. David E. Kirkland] Usually seeds aren’t planted into the ground in the stubborn cold of February. But what other month could capture such seeds as the ones that our dear friend Jerrie planted in her lifetime. For February stands out not only for the shared history that we commemorate but the campaign of Black books that Jerrie so awesomely pushed. The African American Read-In […]

Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005)

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 08:00
[Jerry W. Ward Jr.] Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005) As I reread a few of Lorenzo Thomas’s essays and poems, I recall  the first line of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” —      “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving                hysterical naked….” The single word in the beginning of Ginsberg’s semi-autobiographical, derivative tribute to Walt Whitman […]

Early Women Faculty at University of Kansas

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 04:56
[Shelia Bonner] Too often, stereotypes and misinformation—images, stories, and historical records presented to others—obscure existing representations of black women. The previous passage is taken from the “Preface” of Sister Circle, the 2002 collection that celebrates works produced by Black women scholars. In the celebratory fashion of Sister Circle and as we close out Women’s History Month, today’s blog space is dedicated to women of color who were […]

A Conversation with Sharan Strange

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 13:01
This interview is part of Black Poetry of the Black Arts Movement, an institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and under the auspices of Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. Webinar with poet Sharan Strange conducted October 28, 2015. #NationalPoetryMonth

Strong Readers Reading the Difficult Long Poem

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 10:01
A metronome does not measure the pleasure of reading a long poem. The pleasure exists, outside of time, in a reader’s total aesthetic experience of bringing something to the poem and taking away much more than she or he arrived with. Only strong readers survive, and some of them opt to transform knowledge gained into actions. Others hoard their intellectual wealth. In American time-and-capital-driven cultures […]

MLK… 49 Years Later

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 12:17
“The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.” Nikki Giovanni    

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 10:41
Here at HBW we are kicking off National Poetry Month! Check out this newest piece from Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Salvo for American Poetry Month Nikki Giovanni’s persona poem “Phillis Wheatley” is the foreword to Richard Kigel’s Heav’nly Tidings from the Afric Muse: The Grace and Genius of Phillis Wheatley (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2017). The poem is typical of Giovanni’s recent work, plain words in economic stanzas, and noticeably in opposition […]

GUEST BLOG: The Centrality of Works by Black Writers in the African American Read-In

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 16:22
[Dr. Sandra E. Gibbs] The African American Read-In was founded and sponsored by the Black Caucus (a group of Black professional educators and scholars) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 1990. The Black Caucus voted to initiate the African American Read-In at its November 1989 meeting, but it was not until 1991 that the National Council of Teachers of English joined […]

Hidden Figure: Marion Bond Jordon

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 08:51
[Dr. Zanice Bond] On February 7, 1921, Marion B. Jordon was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, to Ollie S. and Mattye Tollette Bond, charter members of their local NAACP chapter. After graduating from Lane College (summa cum laude) in 1941, she accepted a position in New York City with Pepsi-Cola as a national sales representative, a position typically reserved for white males. After completing her tenure, she became […]

Forgotten Figures for the Resistance

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 07:51
[Dominique Waller] As we close out Women’s History Month and recognize the “Resistance marches” that have swept the nation, as well as in Lawrence, what better way to show how far we’ve come than to take a look back in history and see our progress.   Eva Jessye Through research on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) by my colleague Shelia Bonner, I stumbled upon a […]

Zora Neale Hurston’s Radical Black Love

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 14:13
[Ayesha Hardison and Randal Maurice Jelks] When Zora Neale Hurston published Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937, she had no idea of the currency it would continue to hold long after her death. The African American writer and anthropologist rose from humble beginnings in the South to become one of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance. A prolific writer, Hurston published more than 50 short […]

GUEST BLOG: A Picture in the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:21
[Dr. Sandra E. Gibbs] What it’s like to discover that you are in the National Museum of African American History & Culture? “In” as in one of the pictures featured in the museum. It is absolute sheer pleasure. Recently, a friend sent me an e-mail with the subject heading “Wedding.” I ignored it thinking it might have been a spam because this friend and I […]

Mari Evans: An Oral History

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:59
Over two days in March 2013, the Project on the History of Black Writing conducted what would become the last formal interview Mari Evans gave. Alysha Griffin (former HBW Special Projects Coordinator) and Shayn Guillemette (former Graduate Assistant) visited Mari Evans at her residence in Indianapolis, IN. This interview was later transcribed by the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. This unpublished interview served as […]

ICYMI: Late Women Trustees of the Writers Club to Be Honored

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 19:00
[East St. Louis, IL]– Dr. Lena Jane Weathers (1930-2017), who was a lifelong resident of East St. Louis and an invaluable leader and patron of this community, will be honored along with four other late trustees of the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club on Tuesday, March 21. The free event will take place at 6:00 pm in Room 2083 of Building “B” on the ESL/SIUE […]

CALL FOR SOURCES: Mississippi Renaissance Syllabus

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 16:00
  The Project on the History of Black Writing presents the Mississippi Renaissance Syllabus, an electronic teaching and learning resource on Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Jesmyn Ward and Mississippi literary culture in general.   Our 2017 Black Literary Suite focus on the Mississippi Renaissance placed it in conversation with other literary periods, such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Chicago Renaissance, and the Southern Renascence. We […]

Remembering Derek Walcott

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:21
[Shelia Bonner] Derek Walcott 23 January 1930-17 March 2017 Derek Walcott’s poetry explores the African diaspora and the many ways chattel slavery impacted his identity as a young man growing up on the British, colonized, island-nation of Castries, Saint Lucia. His “A Far Cry from Africa” is one of several poems that addresses the complexities of identity. As Dr. Dance so eloquently writes, Walcott’s poetry […]

HBW Supports: Global History of Black Girlhood Conference

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 12:27
March 17-18, 2017, University of Virginia The Global History of Black Girlhood Conference will gather an interdisciplinary network of scholars to frame the emerging field of black girl history.  The project grows out of the History of Black Girlhood Network, an informal collaboration among scholars researching the experiences of black girls from the sixteenth century to present in Africa, the Americas, and Europe. For more […]


Mon, 03/13/2017 - 09:41
[Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] REMEMBERING DARK AND SPLENDID  (Mari Evans, July 16, 1923-March 10, 2017)   After a zillion sounds, stone-washed clean;   after broadly casting such truths to people;   after taming music into measure of mind;   after making bronze lyrics of ancient black,   you came to return space to origin.   You left a stern, eternal  crystal watch.   You left warning […]


Upcoming Events

Follow HBW:

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today