My Daddy, My Mammy: A Black Man Doing Black Feminism

Hands down: James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation,” his 1927 poetic retelling of the Biblical Genesis story, is one of the best renditions of the Creation story ever written (& performed by Black children in somebody’s Black History program). His entire piece is imaginatively breath-taking. However, what I find to be the most beautiful stanza in Johnson’s narrative poem is his second to last, in which … Continue reading My Daddy, My Mammy: A Black Man Doing Black Feminism

“A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”: Unearthing Grandma’s Black Feminism

I was an 18-year-old fresh(wo)man at Florida A&M University when Grandma Rose died. Cancer. I don’t remember if I had yet told my family I was lesbian—altho I had been planning my comingout story since I left my parents’ home. I planned to tell them I am “pansexual”—a term I read w/which Alice Walker identified over 20 years before Janelle Monáe popularized the word. Being … Continue reading “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”: Unearthing Grandma’s Black Feminism

“Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

The following talk was delivered at the third annual Symposium on Teaching Writing at HBCUs, held at Morehouse College, September 27. *    *     * The most memorable lecture I have ever attended was delivered by Nikki Giovanni almost 20 years ago. Giovanni was in her late 50s then and had recently tattooed “thug life” on her forearm as homage to the slain … Continue reading “Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

Furious Flower + Nikki Giovanni: from the Black Arts Movement to Planet Mars

In the beginning was the Word. But I promise you, I have no words to express my week long adventure at Furious Flower’s The Living Truth: The Life and Work of Nikki Giovanni, a professional development seminar for college professors & high school teachers. Words just won’t do; they are inadequate. But I will try my best. For six days, I–along w/circa 50 other professors, … Continue reading Furious Flower + Nikki Giovanni: from the Black Arts Movement to Planet Mars

big CLIT energy

Last Fall semester, my writing students, all English majors, & I were discussing Barbara Jordan’s 1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address. In classical rhetorical fashion, Jordan begins her speech w/an ethical appeal that explains to & convinces her audience that her presence as keynote speaker signals a radical shift in not only the ideals that the Democratic Party holds, but in the notion that every … Continue reading big CLIT energy

“Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age

The following paper is the first half of a conference presentation I delivered at the 2018 “Symposium on Teaching Composition and Rhetoric at HBCUs” hosted by Howard University and Bedford St/Martin’s.  *      *     * According to this year’s conference call for abstracts, “One HBCU scholar once described managing student literacies and the technological resources afforded HBCUs as ‘trying to make a dollar out … Continue reading “Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age