|Eugene B. Redmond and Jayne Cortez, October 2005, SIUE
Someone was recently asking me about the state of African American literary studies at SIUE when I began in 2003. Of course, I thought about my work with Eugene B. Redmond -- the main reason I came to this university.
He wrote Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry (1976), and I wanted the chance to work with him. So I applied. The rest is history as they say.
Redmond retired in 2007. Before that, he and I coordinated several readings featuring poets associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Quincy Troupe. Sonia Sanchez. Amiri Baraka. Jayne Cortez. Haki Madhubuti. Mari Evans. [Related: 10 Years of Poets Reading at SIUE].
In retrospect, Redmond was moving toward retirement when I began, and those readings showcasing Black Arts era poets may have been a way of winding down his career. The poets were his old friends stopping by to reconnect.