This entry is part of a series about 20 Years of African American Literary Studies at SIUE.
As a graduate student, I applied to various fellowships, and early on as a junior professor I applied to fellowships as well. But I quickly began shifting my focus and applied for programming grants beyond my individual research projects.
As I’ve noted in the past, two factors shaped my shift in approaches to grant writing, beginning in 2003: 1.) Working with and learning from senior scholar Maryemma Graham on her grant projects and 2.) a network of grant writing support and training at SIUE, which was particularly strong when I began.
I wrote or co-wrote approximately 60 grants since 2016. Many of the grants focused on public-facing projects showcasing Black literature. I worked with my colleagues Tisha Brooks and Elizabeth Cali on the long road to direct two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes focusing on Frederick Douglass. I’m a co-Pi on a Mellon Foundation for the Black Literature Network.