Maryemma Graham

Graham, Maryemma
  • HBW Founding Director
  • Distinguished Professor of English
  • University of Kansas

Contact Info


Maryemma Graham is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas. In 1983 she founded the History of Black Writing at the University of Mississippi. She and the History of Black Writing have been at the University of Kansas since 1998. With 12 published books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature with Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (2011), the most comprehensive literary history to date, a translingual volume Toni Morrison: Au delà du visible ordinaire/Beyond the Visible and Ordinary with co-editors Andrée-Anne Kekeh and Janis A. Mayes (2014), and most recently The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker (2022), Graham is widely recognized for her public humanities programming within the US and beyond, especially The Langston Hughes National Poetry Project (2002-2005), the Language Matters Teaching Initiative in partnership with the Toni Morrison Society (2003-2010), and Faces of Haiti: Resolute in Reform, Resistance, and Recovery (2010-2012). In addition to fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the American Committee of Learned Societies, as well as the Ford and the Mellon Foundations, Graham has received more than three million dollars in grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford, and Mellon Foundations to support the History of Black Writing. A literary historian by training, Graham's major teaching areas are genre studies, with a focus on the novel and autobiography/life writing, transnational and mobility studies. She is a leading advocate of digital methods and practices for literary preservation, research, and knowledge production.