Vol. 3 No. 1


American Literature Association Conference

San Diego, California



May 1998

Sherley Anne Williams

Poet, dramatist, short story writer, novelist, critic, and culture bearer, Dr. Sherley Anne Williams stands in the forefront of contemporary African American women writers. A California native who worked with her parents in the cotton and fruit fields of Bakersfield, and graduate of Brown University, Dr. Williams teaches at the University of California at San Diego. She achieved attention with Give Birth to Brightness: A Thematic Study in Neo-Black Literature (1972), an in depth study of the poetry, fiction and drama of Black male writers of the 1960s, including Baraka, Baldwin, and Gaines. Her critically acclaimed novel, Dessa Rose (1986), is based in part on a slave uprising in Kentucky led by a pregnant black woman. In his New York Times review, David Bradley wrote that Dessa Rose was "artistically brilliant" and "totally unforgettable." It has been described as a blues novel which "tells of a solitary woman’s experience of love thwarted, of bondage, revolt, freedom, and love regained." Williams’ masterful infusion of the salient characteristics of African American folk life and culture, orality, antiphonality, and song in Dessa Rose, coupled with her successful resurrection, restoration and validation of the voice of the female slave attest to her determination to be witness, participant and preserver of African American culture in all its complexity. This is equally true of her collections of poems: The Peacock Poems (1975) and Someone Sweet Angel Child (1982). Each is rich in what critic Stephen Henderson called "saturation": "the communication of ‘Blackness’ and fidelity to the observed or intuited truth of the Black Experience in the United States." This places Dr. Williams’ work in the

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From the President: Out of the Wilderness

Reelected to the presidency of the African American Literature and Culture Society for an additional year, I am able to share with you, once again, why I think this is such an important organization. Again, I borrow from Dr. DuBois who wrote , in The Souls of Black Folk, "And so by fateful chance the Negro-folk-song-the rhythmic cry of the slave-stands today not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the sea. It has been neglected, it has been, and is half despised, and above all, it has been persistently mistaken and misunderstood..." These sentiments, voiced at the beginning of this century, bear relevance to the treatment accorded African American literature throughout most of this century. Toni Morrison’s bold declaration that, "Just as the formation of the nation necessitated coded language and purposeful restriction to deal with the racial disingenuousness and moral frailty at its heart, so too did the literature, whose founding characteristics extend into the twentieth century, reproduce the necessity for codes and restrictions," in part provides meaningful insight into the outright marginalization of this body of literature.

The degree of acceptability and respectability now accorded this once neglected discipline leads one to wonder what the New England scholar would add to his commentary at the end of the twentieth century. Perhaps he would add a well established literary tradition to his list of "gift[s] of the Negro people" to America and indeed the "human experience"; and ask, "tell me how did you feel when you come out the wilderness?"

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From the President: ... continued from page 1

The successful achievements of the African American Literature and Culture Society of the American Literature Association, in a relatively short time, should be included among the nuggets that attest to current changes, and specifically to the resurrection, examination, restoration and celebration of the African American literary tradition, oral and written. A clear example of this success is the ALA’s 1997 symposium on "African American Literature" held in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, cohosted by the AALCS. More than thirty presentations were made on subjects ranging from the slave narrative tradition and African American poetry, drama, and fiction, to a workshop on new media technologies and African American literature. In one session: "Conquered at the Head of the Class," presenters challengingly addressed what they deemed critical questions facing this discipline. Presenters included Carolyn Denard, "Critical & Cultural Mis-appropriation in the Study of African American Literature," Catherine Gunther Kodat, "Black Studies, Cultural Studies & Postmodern Pedagogy: The Example of ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’" and Tomo Hattari, "Who is Tiger Woods? African American Studies & the Multicultural Challenge." Participation included national and international scholars, a representative from a HBCU, and several graduate students. Alan Rice, G. Oty Agbajoh-Laoye, and David McWilliams, contributors to this newsletter, were among the presenters. Erik Ludwig, who is on program with his students from Eastside Schools, proposed his panel as a result of the feedback he received during the symposium. Support came from both the Charles W. Chesnutt and Toni Morrison Societies of the ALA. The University of Alabama Press will publish the proceedings.

As I leave the presidency of the AALCS, I do so knowing that the organization continues to meet its stated objective: "to initiate, sponsor, and encourage critical dialogue, scholarly publications, conferences, programs, and projects devoted to the study of African American Literature and Culture." I will spend the next two years planning "Looking Back With Pleasure II," a conference on a retrospective glance on the progress and development of the African American Literary Tradition from the publication of DuBois’ now classic text to the Norton Anthology on African American Literature and Morrison’s Paradise. Also called "Project 2000," this activity will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, the birthplace of Wallace Thurman, the editor of Fire and one of the architects of the Harlem Renaissance. It will be held in October 2000.

I continue to remain ever grateful to the ALA’s Board of Directors, its president, Alfred Bendixen, and program chairs, Gloria Cronin and Jeanne Reesman, for the support and encouragement given the AALCS. I also wish to thank Pat Hanna, Dean of the College of Humanities, and Ronald G. Coleman, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Faculty Development of the University of Utah, for their support. Needless to say, the officers, committee members, and membership at large have been instrumental in the AALCS’s success to date. My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. Wilfred D. Samuels

Sherley Anne Williams ... continued from page 1

tradition of Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, who she acknowledges are her mentors and role models. Dr. Williams, who is also the author of Working Cotton (1992), a book for young readers, will receive the AALCS’s Stephen Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature and Poetry during this year’s ALA Conference. This year’s program includes a panel on Dessa Rose. Dr. Williams will read from her work during our reception on Thursday night.


Erik B. Ludwig and Youth Panel

Eastside School is a small private school located in East Palo Alto, California. The seven African American students, who make up the entire sophomore class, are excited that their proposal was accepted by the ALA. Their multimedia panel, "The Other Side of the Game," which focuses on the way youth view images of African Americans in television, music, literature and poetry, will add "flava" to the conference. The presentation, which dissects the stereotypes and central themes of African American texts, is designed to create a dialogue between academic theory and these students’ daily reality. It is bound to be an energetic and insightful experience for those who attend.

- Erik B. Ludwig, English, Eastside School

African American Studies in the Old World

Being an academic in Europe sometimes seems an awful long way away when you are engaged in the study of African American literature and culture. The key archives and resources are located on a different continent and the key debates are happening in media that you have limited or late access to. The students you teach often find it hard to make the link from their existence in Lancashire mill towns to issues of race across the ocean. It was with these inherent difficulties of access and relevance in mind that two courses have been devised in the North West of England - the other is at Liverpool’s John Moores University run by Ross Dawson. They both privilege the idea of the Black Atlantic famously foregrounded by Paul Gilroy’s 1993 book, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, and show the interrelatedness between Africa, America and Europe. The course then, like Gilroy’s book, challenges perceptions which would comprehend black culture in terms of a return to a mystical homeland (Africa) or pressing forward to a modernity encapsulated by North America; it posits a more complex reality somewhere in-between, often literally in a space of interconnectedness termed the Black Atlantic. I teach the course at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston that is called "Narratives of the Black Atlantic"; it begins by interrogating the students’ own local backgrounds discussing how many of their seemingly innocuous home towns were key components of a global network in the trade of human bodies which helped create the industrial revolution and previously undreamt of prosperity. The Lancashire and Cumbrian slave trade was conducted out of Liverpool, Lancaster and Whitehaven and although relatively few Africans were visible on the streets of these cities in the eighteenth century, their blood sacrifice literally oiled the wheels of commerce therein. I use both slavers’ journals (especially John Newton’s journal) and the first African American/Afro-British autobiographies by Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoana to show how we can interrogate a variety of sources to access to some degree at least the conditions on board slave ships. For instance, Newton’s description of the slaves in terms of numbers rather than names is telling and his meticulous transcription of a punishment regime shows an Enlightenment dogmatism for accuracy which flies in the face of Enlightenment humanity. As can be seen, the course interprets "narratives" broadly and includes the court transcriptions of the Amistad trial as collected by John Barber in 1840. These detail resistance to slavery and will be used in future manifestations of the course to critique over-simplistic renditions of the revolt such as in Spielberg’s film Amistad.

The course does not just feature written texts and uses both mainstream films like ‘King Kong’ and key avant-garde texts like Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston to map the Diaspora. Musical examples from jazz in the 20's to 40's and its effect on European youth to the global influence of rap style are an option taught on the course too. African American travel narrative is foregrounded in the course to show how African Americans refigure the trip across the Atlantic as a liberational gesture. For instance, Frederick Douglass’s mind-expanding trip to Britain and Ireland in 1845-7 is used to highlight the Transatlantic links that help to undermine American domestic slavery as well as to detail the ambivalent reaction to him from some British abolitionists whose fear of his close relations with white women and image of him as a noble savage show their inability to see past his race to the man under the skin. Letters (both by him and others), his second autobiography and speeches are used to indicate these underlying themes. It is not only nineteenth-century African American travelers that are featured in the course. Richard Wright’s travels in Spain and James Baldwin’s exemplary essay about blackness in Europe, "Stranger in the Village" also feature. Finally, two historical novels about the middle passage and its aftermath, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Caryll Philips’ Crossing the River, show how both Black British and African American novelists are still haunted by slavery but use that experience to critique a complacent post-colonial world.

The course will become much easier to teach over the next year as my edited book of essays on Douglass’s visit to Britain, A Liberating Sojourn: Frederick Douglass and Transatlantic Reform (with Martin Crawford, University of Georgia Press, 1999) will provide a useful case study. It is a reaction to his 1845 visit and will place Douglass in this context of the Black Atlantic, providing a series of academic essays on Douglass’s relations to women, ethnicity, religion and reform. Also, in October Cassell is publishing an anthology called Always Elsewhere: Travel Writing of the Black Atlantic edited by Alasdair Pettinger with over 50 extracts from the eighteenth century to the present day, which means that photocopying will become far less burdensome. It seems that publishers are waking up to the possibilities inherent in promoting the paradigm of the Black Atlantic as it opens up avenues of academic exploration hitherto undeveloped.

What began as a necessary pedagogic compromise to benefit British students now seems to have captured a particular mood which seeks to internationalize and problematise questions of African American identity.

-- Alan Rice, University of Central Lancashire in Preston

Southern Legacies: Relocating a Cultural and Spiritual South in African American Literature

In her works, Alice Walker consciously attempts to re-conceptualize migrations (enforced or voluntary) as cyclical movements that include a physical or spiritual return to a real, imagined or symbolic South and, on a wider scale, Africa. I see this as a pedagogical shift--a cultural enterprise--that posits the South as the location of verifiable black experience as well as the physical, spiritual and/or psychological regeneration to which the survival of an entire people is harnessed.

The configuration of the North and the South as very distinct geo-histo-psyche-cultural locations is a predominant element in African American literature and life. The North is often (mis)perceived as the "Black Mecca," the location of freedom, upward mobility and the condition for the achievement of the American dream. In direct contrast, the South is portrayed as the site of slavery experience--excruciating dehumanization, displacement, dislocation and, ironically, the historical relocation of black people. In this regard the return south creates a reversal in which southern all black communities become the black belt of history–a bedrock of authentic African American cultures. It is in this light that the South is reconceptualized by Alice Walker as the sub-consciousness of Black experience as well as the spiritual and/or symbolic reconnecting to a not-so-distant painful and glorious past that is African and completes the cycle of regeneration.

At the very peak of the New Negro renaissance, Grange Copeland, the protagonist in The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Walker’s first novel, abandons his family to migrate north expecting to find "streets paved with gold" and "to be welcomed and shown the way about." To his consternation, he spends "three and a half years" living like a tramp, begging, stealing and dodging the police, sometimes hoping "to be caught and sentenced, if only to be fed and kept bathed and warm." Grange’s migration, the same undertaken by Ralph Ellison’s memorable Black male protagonists (the Bingo King and the Invisible man), in his American classic Invisible Man, signifies on the historical migration from the supposedly very extreme debilitating conditions of the agrarian and rural South to the inner cities of industrialized America. It is pertinent to note that the return south is neither presented as a possibility nor achieved by the illustrious, confused, misunderstood and most times irretrievably damaged African American sons (and daughters) in some of the best renditions of Black life and experience. Richard Wright’s Bigger Thomas in Native Son is another well-known example. Unlike Bigger or Ellison’s protagonist, Grange lives to make the stunning and instructional disclosure that regeneration and survival are located in the South.

However, the importance of the South is embodied in the real life experience and literary career of generations of African Americans. For instance, Zora Neale Hurston, adventurous and exceptionally talented, trudged the South collecting folk tales and cultural history at a time when the study of the African American experience was not considered legitimate or a worthwhile academic enterprise. A worthy foremother, Hurston’s southern footprints served as ancestral guide to a plethora of black writers, most notably, Alice Walker. In their personal and collective fictional excursions South, Walker and her more positive Black male and female fictional characters discover a wealth of historical and cultural information in her imagined South. For example, in Walker’s second novel, Meridian, written ten years after the Civil Rights Movement has "come" and "go[ne]," the heroine, Meridian, a former civil rights activist, on a learning tour of the South remains close to the people and rediscovers the healing qualities of the South.

The epistemological shift noted above comes at the end of the twentieth century, a crucial stage in the reassessment of the historical development of African American people in particular and African Diaspora as a whole. Thus it is not surprising that the South remains a central metaphor and theme in Walker’s Temple of My Familiar. In this novel, Suwelo, the not-by-chance African American professor of American History, realizes too well that the "so-called" academic perspective prescribed for "the teaching of American history" is an exclusive and inaccurate one. His truncated account derives from his insistence on reading only African American and African male writers. To counteract this perspective he develops a guerilla tactic to teach history, whereby he sneaks in the faces of black men and traces them backwards until they appeared before Columbus. To this end Walker recommends, through Suwelo’s estranged wife, the battle-fatigued Fanny Nzingha, part African American and African woman scholar, that a more inclusive compilation must include Black female perspectives as well as onsite learning excursions to the South.

This is why Suwelo must travel to Baltimore to claim his heritage in the form of a house left to him by his old Uncle Rafe. He is introduced to the history of the South by the "so expressive" pictures of his forebears on the walls. He notices his uncle’s "scribbled" "little messages" of experienced history on "book jackets" and "in margins on notepads," on

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Southern Legacies: ... continued from page 4

an old newspaper, "the cover of Life,"and "used napkins." He listens to the different versions of experiences narrated by two of his uncle’s contemporaries, Mr. Hal and Miss Lissie, the victim of an actual bus segregation recorded "oddly enough on a shoe box" containing a pair of soiled "out-of-fashion women’s pumps" as incriminating evidence. Together the catalogue of visual, written and oral testimonies corroborate and correct Suwelo’s version of American history.

Clearly, in Walker’s oeuvre is found the proposition that personal accounts of experience, visual testimonies and even silences become collective lessons of corroborated history, and the real and imagined South, the location of culture for everyday use as well as the symbolic and spiritual regeneration and complete survival of African American generations now and in the future.

-- G. Oty Agbajoh-Laoye, Manmouth University

In Memoriam: Erskine Peters

A graduate of Paine College in Augusta, Georgia and Princeton University, Dr. Erskine Peters joined the English and African American Studies faculty of Notre Dame in 1987, after spending eleven years at UC Berkeley, where he was a member of the English faculty and chair of the African American Studies Department .

Dr. Peters specialized in Faulkner studies, American literature to 1930, and African American poetry. An award winning teacher, his critical work includes William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha World of Black Being, The Lyrics of the Afro-American Spiritual and African Americans in the New Millennium. He is also known for his poetry, which was published in Obsidian. The South Bend Tribune reports that a friend and colleague, Dr. Dolores Frese, described Dr. Peters as, "a deeply spiritual person...He knew more about life and death than most of us, and had undertaken to meditate on that in his poetry." Dr. Peters died March 9, 1998, at age 49


Business Meeting: Thursday, May 28, 1998

La Jolla Room 8:00 to 8:50 a.m.


Introducing William Henry (Hank) Lewis

"It was during such a summer, my mother told me, that my father had got home from the third shift at the bottling plant, waked her with his naked body already on top of her, entered her before she was able to say no...came without saying a word, and walked back out of our house forever.

"I was ten years old when she told me this. After she sat me down and said This is how you came to me, I knew that I would never feel like I was ten for the rest of that year. She told me what it was to love someone, what it was to make love to someone, and what it took to make someone. Sometime, she said, all three don’t happen at once. When she said that, I didn’t quite know what it meant, but I felt her need to tell me. She seemed determined not to hold it from me. It seemed as if somehow she was pushing me ahead of my growing. And I felt uncomfortable with it, the way secondhand shoes are at first comfortless. Soon the pain wasn’t greater, just hard to wear.

"After that, she filled my home life with lessons, stories, and observations that had a tone of insistence in them, each one told in a way that dared me to let it drift from my mind..."

Echoed in these words of the narrator of William Henry (Hank) Lewis’s short story "Shades" is the young writer’s central concern with the importance of the art of telling a story. Lewis explains that he is interested in writing "stories about telling stories." "I am most interested in the how and why...I want my narrators to be aware of why they are telling their story, as well as how they are telling this particular story." Lewis describes himself as a writer who teaches and by doing that, "my writing and my teaching are ways of both affirming and celebrating the power of the African American Experience in all narrative texts, not just the literary.

Initially published in Ploughshares, "Shades" was included in Best American Short Stories of 1996, and An Anthology of Writings About Black Men’s Identity. Lewis’ first collection of stories, In the Arms of the Elders, was published by Carolina Wren Press in 1995. He is currently Allan K. Smith Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in Fiction at Trinity College.


Two Rediscovered Late Novels by Charles Chesnutt

For many years Charles Chesnutt’s place in African American literary history seemed clear: a bright, but brief, moment at the turn of the century. The three novels and two collections of stories which he published between 1899 and 1905 marked the acceptance of African American fiction as literary art. Despite their historical importance, these fictions have often seemed dated, fatally linked to the period in which they were written.

New publications and new critical perspectives now require us to revise these judgements. Chesnutt’s journals were published in 1993; his correspondence and Mandy Oxendine, an early previously unpublished novel, appeared in 1997. I have edited two novels that Chesnutt unsuccessfully submitted for publication in the 1920s, and they will be published in late 1998 by Princeton University Press. The first of these, Paul Marchand, F.M.C., was submitted by Chesnutt for publication in 1921. It is a historical romance set in Louisiana in the 1820s. It tells the story of a young "free man of color"–thus the initials after his name–who discovers that he is in fact white and the scion of a powerful creole family. The novel turns upon the crisis his new racial identity poses for him.

The second novel, The Quarry, recounts the life of a light-skinned orphan named Donald Glover, who is adopted by a black family and raised as black. He grows up in the early twentieth century in a border state under Jim Crow, and he is in that city during the peak years of the Harlem Renaissance. This gives Chesnutt a chance to survey political and intellectual currents of this period. W. E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington and Franz Boas are among the contemporary figures who appear in lightly fictionalized form.

After his years of study, Donald Glover emerges as a rising young Negro leader. He discovers, however, that his birth parents were pure Caucasians. Donald also faces the crisis posed in Paul Marchand, F.M.C. Both protagonists in these late Chesnutt fictions must decide what constitutes racial identity. Is it genetic inheritance, social conditioning or personal choice? Chesnutt was fascinated with the color line throughout his career, but in his last two novels he turned the novel of passing on its head. These last two works tell of "white" men who choose to live "black."

- Dean McWilliams, Ohio

Book In Review: The Cattle Killing

John Edgar Wideman

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996 (paper, 1997)

ISBN: 0-395-87750-4; 212 pp; $12.00 (paper)

John Edgar Wideman’s first novel in six years, The Cattle Killing, proves to be as ambitious, disturbing, complex, and graceful, as any of his previous work. Its jazz-like rhythms and circular narrative embody the struggle and the necessity to tell the painful stories of African-Americans in order to understand and eventually escape the burden of the past, and to survive the future. Time in the novel is layered. And as the layers are peeled back, Wideman reveals the inexorable ties between the history of slavery and racism in our country and the present.

At the center of the novel is the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in 1793. The epidemic is seen through the eyes of a preacher, a freed slave, who follows a mysterious African woman, in all of her incarnations, to Philadelphia. The preacher tells stories to this woman to soothe her illness and his own rage. His storytelling becomes a lifeline to the past, to the community. This woman, appearing throughout the novel as different manifestations of an African spirit, is the novel’s and the preacher’s touchstone. Through her, the healing power of story is rediscovered in the roots of African traditions. The need to share stories to reconnect to that past and to each other echoes within the novel, even within it’s framework. The novel is bookended with two contemporary voices: a writer who is taking his novel to read to his father, and the writer’s son, a historian, who has just read the same novel. These moments remind the reader that stories sustain us, strengthen family ties, illuminate the sacred and the profane in our lives-and that they may even have the ability to save us.

The story of the plague reverberates throughout the novel and throughout American history as "the fever" of despair, violence, and self-loathing that accompanies racism. It’s the same "madness" that precipitated the MOVE bombing in 1985. It’s an account, early in The Cattle Killing, of two African American boys shot to death in Philadelphia. It’s the imprisonment of Mandela and Mumia Abu-Jamal. It’s also the story of the Xhosa, a South African tribe that followed a false prophecy commanding them to kill their cattle in order to drive the Europeans out of their land. They fell to "sleep in their enemy’s dream." The result was famine, homelessness, and ultimately, the destruction of their way of life. This event is reenacted today, Wideman suggests, whenever African Americans forget their traditions, their stories; when they believe the lies others tell about them.

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Book in Review: ... continued from page 6

All of these moments in time appear simultaneously in the novel, seeking to diagnose and cure the disease of prejudice in the City of Brotherly Love. Wideman reminds us here, as he has before, that "all stories are true," worthy, essential. As the preacher of The Cattle Killing states, "We are spirits sharing an uncharted space. A space our stories tell. A space chanted - written upon again and again. Yet one story never quite erased by the next. Each story saving the space, saving itself, saving us if someone is listening".

-Tracie Church Guzzio, University of Nevada at Las Vegas



Non- fiction and Poetry

Angelou, Maya. Even The Stars Look Lonesome. Random House, 1997.

Allen, Carol. Black Women Intellectuals. Garland, 1998.

Baraka, Amiri. Eulogies. Marsilio Publishers, 1996.

Bell, Geneva. My Rose: An African American Mother’s Story of AIDS. United Church Press, 1997.

Bergreen, Laurence. An Extravagant Life. Broadway, 1997.

Bray, Rosemary L. Un-Afraid of The Dark: A Memoir. Random House, 1998.

Cose, Ellis. Color-Blind: Seeing Beyond Race In a Race Obsessed World. Harper Perennial, 1997.

Chuck D and Yusuf Jah. Fight the Power: Rap, Race and Reality. Delacorter, 1997.

Dash, Leon. Rosa Lee. Plume Books, 1997.

Davis, Angela Y. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. Pantheon Books, 1998.

DeBerry, Virginia, and Donna Grant. Tryin To Sleep in The Bed You Made. St Martin’s Press, 1997.

Ferguson, Moria. Ed. Nine Black Women: An Anthology of Nineteenth Century Writers from the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Routledge, 1998.

Graves, Earl G. How to Succeed in Business Without Being White. New York: Harper Business Publishers, 1997.

Gates, Henry Louis Jr. Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Black Man. Vintage Books, 1997.

Gomez, Michael A. Exchanging Our Country Marks. UNC Chapel Hill Press, 1998.

Greenberg, Cheryl L. Ed. A Circle of Trust. Rutgers UP, 1998.

J, LL Cool. I Make My Own Rules. St Martin’s Press, 1997.

Kassindja, Fauziya, and Layli Miller Bashir. Do They Hear You When Your Cry. Delacorte, 1998.

Kelly, Robin D. G. Yo ‘Mama’s DisFUNKtional! Beacon Press, 1997.

Kersee, Jackie Joyner. A Kind Of Grace: Autobiography of The World’s Greatest Female Athlete. Warner Books, 1997.

Lorde, Audre. The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. W.W. Norton and Company, 1997.

Lubiano, Wahneema. The House That Race Built. Vintage Book, 1997.

McCall, Nathan. What’s Going On: Personal Essays. Random House, 1997.

Miller, Ethelbert. Whispers, Secrets and Promises. Black Classic Press, 1998.

Owens, William. Black Mutiny: The Revolt on The Schooner Amistad. Black Classic Press, 1997.

Rayborn, Patricia. My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love and Forgiveness. Penguin Books, 1997

Reed, Adolph L. Jr. W.E.B. DuBois and American Political

Thought: Fabianism and the Color Line. Oxford, 1997..

Roberts, Bari-Ellen. Roberts vs. Texaco: A True Story of Race and Corporate America. Avon, 1998.

Sanchez, Sonia. Does Your House Have Lions? Beacon, 1997.

Shipler, David K. A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites In America. Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Smith, Jeanne Rosier. Writing Tricksters: Mythic Gambols

in American Ethnic Literature. Berkeley: U of California

Press, 1997.

Sterling, Dorothy. We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1984. (RPT in paperback 1997)

Tate, Claudia. Psychoanalysis and Black Novels: Desire and Protocols of Race. Oxford, 1998.

Tate, Sonsyrea. Little X: Growing Up In The Nation Of Islam. Harper, 1997.

Thomas, Velma Maia. Lest We Forget. Crown, 1997.

Wade-Gayles, Gloria. Father Songs: Testimonies By African American Sons and Daughters. Beacon, 1997.

Walker, Alice. Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism. Random House, 1997.

Williams, Donna Marie. Black-eyed Peas For The Soul. Fireside Books, 1997.

Woodard, Michael D. Black Entrepreneurs in America. Rutgers, 1998.


Beckman, Barry. You Have a Friend: The Rise and Fall of the Chase Manhattan Bank.New York: William Morrow


.Brookshire, La Joyce. Soul Food. Harper Collins, 1997.

Bunkley, Anita R. Balancing Act. Dutton, 1997

Campbell, Bebe Moore. Singing In The Comeback Choir. Putnam, 1998.

Coleman, Evelyn. What A Woman’s Gotta Do. Simon/Schuster, 1998.

Dash, Julie. Daughters of The Dust. Penguin Putnam, 1997.

Flanagan, Brenda. You Alone Are Dancing. University of Michigan Press, 1996.

Golden, Marita. The Edge of Heaven. Doubleday, 1998.

Harris, Lynn E. If This World Were Mine. Doubleday, 1997.

Jenkins, Beverly. Indigo. Avon Books, 1996.Johnson, Charles. Dreamer. Scribner, 1998.

Lattany, Kristin Hunter. Kinfolks. Ballantine Books, 1996.

Little, Benilde. Good Hair. Simon and Schuster, 1996.

Morrison, Toni. Paradise. Random House, 1998.

Mosley, Walter. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. Norton, 1998.

Riley, Len. Harlem: A Novel. Doubleday, 1997.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Magic City. Harper Collins, 1997.

Sarsfield, Mairuth. No Crystal Stair. St. Martin’s Press, 1997.

Smith, Faye McDonald. Flight of the Blackbird. Scribner, 1997.

Smith, Mary Burnett. Miss Ophelia. William Morrow & Co., 1997.

Tyree, Omar. A Do Right Man. Schuster, 1997.

Wesley, Valerie W. No Hiding Place. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997.

Project 2000

"Looking Back with Pleasure II"

African American Literature in the 20th Century

October 2000

Reception and Poetry Reading

Bay Room Thursday, May 28, 1998

8:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Dr. Sherley Anne Williams