Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Ward, Wright & Whiteside Connections
In the fall of 1996, as a second-year student at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, I enrolled in a literature course taught by Professor Jerry W. Ward, Jr. that focused on Richard Wright. Professor Ward was my key Wright connection, and Wright connected me to more ideas and views of the world than I can easily count. And the Wright connections continue.
A year ago, our department received an application letter from a graduating senior at Tougaloo College named Briana Whiteside. In her application letter, she explained that she was interested in working with me on who else? Yes, of course, that writer from Mississippi, Richard Wright.
The Tougaloo, Ward, Wright & Whiteside connections have been fascinating to consider. At Tougaloo,Ward put me in touch with Wright's work, and it turns out that the writings I went on to produce about Wright's work were part of what brought me to the attention of Briana. There was also Candice Jackson, another student of Ward's, who had studied Wright with him and who had also been a professor of Briana.
Although Wright served as the basis, for Briana's first year, we have primarily concentrated on getting her acquainted with a range of African American literary works. In addition, she has produced several entries on uncanny black women for our site. Still, Wright has always been a part of our conversations as an important figure in our considerations of African American culture, literary history, and what it means to be thoughtful writers.
Briana just reached her 30th entry on our site. I look forward to reading her future writings and thus further developments associated with these Ward, Wright & Whiteside connections.