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African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers  

African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers was a NEH grant funded project at Mississippi Valley State University that consisted of an eight-day workshop from July 8, 2013 - August 6, 2013.
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2014 URL: http://libguides.mvsu.edu/threemississippiwriters Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Workshop Session I July 8 - 9, 2013

Dr. Jerry Ward on Richard Wright

 Dr. Jerry W. Ward, a noted Richard Wright scholar, will serve as a lecturer and visiting consultant on this project. He is Distinguished Professor of English and African World Studies at Dillard University in New Orleans and one of the founders of the Richard Wright Circle and co-editor of The Richard Wright Encyclopedia and of The Cambridge History of African American Literature.

 

 

Workshop Session II July 10-11, 2013

Dr. Hermine Pinson on Sterling Plumpp

Dr. Hermine D. Pinson, a noted Sterling Plumpp scholar, will serve as a lecturer and visiting consultant on this project. She is a Professor of English at the College of William and Mary. She has been researching on Sterling Plumpp for years, conducted a roundtable discussion on Sterling Plumpp at the Blues Symposium at Arkansas State University, and served as a guest-editor in 2009 on a special issue on Sterling Plumpp for Valley Voices: A Literary Review.

 

Workshop Session III August 5-6, 2013

Dr. Maryemma Graham on Margaret Walker

Dr. Maryemma Graham is the University Distinguished Professor at Kansas University. An internationally well-known Margaret Walker scholar, Dr. Graham will serve as a lecturer on the NEH granted project-African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers.Dr. Graham has published numerous books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature, The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel, and On Being Female Black Free: Margaret Walker 1932-1992

 

African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers

African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers, was a NEH grant funded project at Mississippi Valley State University that consisted of an eight-day workshop (six lecture days with a pre-planning session and a post-seminar session) devoted to the works of three famous African American writers: Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and Sterling Plumpp, who have prominently represented Mississippi in its literary landscapes. Three noted scholars, Dr. Jerry Ward on Richard Wright, Dr. Maryemma Graham on Margaret Walker, and Dr. Hermine Pinson on Sterling Plumpp served as the workshop lecturers. Dr. John Zheng, Chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages served as the project director.

 

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

 

 

Workshop Intent

The NEH grant will be used to sponsor an eighteen-month project, African American Literary Heritage: Three Mississippi Writers, starting in January 2013 and ending in June 2014 with an eight-day workshop (six lecture days with a pre-planning session and a post-seminar session) devoted to the works of three famous African American writers: Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and Sterling Plumpp, who have prominently represented Mississippi in its literary landscapes. The workshop will provide a chance for participants to honor Wright, Walker, and Plumpp. Though they are well-known writers, but relatively ignored in humanities curriculum taught across the state. The reemphasis on them and their historical significance to the literary world will allow for further study and discussion of the importance of their exemplary novels and poetry collections such as Black Boy, Jubilee, Velvet BeBop Kente Cloth and Blues Narrative.

Three noted scholars, Dr. Jerry Ward, Dr. Maryemma Graham, and Dr. Hermine Pinson who have conducted extensive research and workshops in the study of the three Mississippi writers, will be the workshop lecturers. Their lectures will specifically address the issues of hunger for knowledge presented in Wright’s fiction, awareness of heritage and freedom in Walker’s novel and poetry, and Jazz/blues tradition in Plumpp’s poetry. These issues are still meaningful topics in the 21st-century humanities programs, specifically in the curriculum at HBCUs in the state of Mississippi. Therefore, it is significant to re-recognize, through this project, the literary achievements of these three writers and emphasize their importance in African American Studies.

The intent of this workshop is to provide a working knowledge for the teaching of these three Mississippi writers who provide unique perspectives on African American history and culture in their literary works. The project will challenge participants to expand their knowledge of African American history and culture and infuse their learning into the teaching of African American literature. The information gathered from the workshop will be used as the basis for curricular development of literature courses particularly at MVSU:

EN 316 Modern Literature

EN 361 and EN 362 American Literature I and II

EN 363 Major Black Writers

EN 364 and EN 365 Survey of African American Literature I and II

EN 369 Literature of the Harlem Renaissance

EN 370 Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Black Women Writers

EN 406 Modern Poetry

It will also be used in instructional planning in the local school districts. We believe the workshop will enrich the literature courses in public schools such as African American literature and The American Novel (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ACAD/ID/Curriculum/ LAER/LA_ Framework_2006_ Revised/LA_7_12_Electives_Framework.pdf). In fact, cultural and literary enrichment is a core component of humanities instruction, and the re-recognition of Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and Sterling Plumpp and their literary achievements in classroom teaching is necessary and important to both undergraduate students and middle and high school students in the Mississippi Delta.

 

 

Project Director

Dr.  John Zheng served as Director for the NEH funded project, African American Literary Heriatge.  He is Professor and Chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Mississippi Valley State University. He was Director for the 2007 NEH-funded project on Richard Wright with a focus on Wright’s novel The Outsider, his haiku collection, and his philosophical and political commitments in the post-World War II period.  He also received a grant from the US Embassy in Beijing to organize the International Symposium on African American Literature in China while serving as a Fulbright Scholar there in 2009.  ​

Pictures/Videos

  • Ward on Wright
    A pictorial view of Dr. Jerry Ward's presentation on Richard Wright's Black Boy
  • Pinson on Plumpp
    A pictorial view of Dr. Hermine Pinson's presentation on Sterling Plumpp with Plumpp reading from his on work.
  • Graham on Walker
    A pictorial view of Dr. Maryemma Graham's presentation on Margaret Walker's Jubilee
 

Workshop Bibliography

African American Literary Heritage:Three Mississippi Writers

Bibliography on

Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and Sterling Plumpp

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