CURRENT NEWS

Cultural Front

Cultural Front

October 17 - 19, in Washington D. C., the UNCF/Mellon Programs celebrated 30 years of active programming with a gathering of professors, scholars, and former participants. The conference included panels on mentoring, the value of a UNCF perspective, contributions to public discourse, and writing and productivity workshops. There was a keynote conversation between Spence, Beverly Guy Sheftall, and Johnnetta B. Cole at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Read more at http://www.culturalfront.org/2019/10/uncfmellon-program-celebrates-30-years.html
Jericho Brown, Ph.D.

Jericho Brown, Ph.D.

Repost from The Emory Wheel Oct. 2019 Creative Writing Program Director and Associate Professor Jericho Brown’s latest collection of poetry, “The Tradition,” was named a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry on Tuesday. He is one of the five finalists in the poetry category. Brown said he felt a sense of accomplishment upon hearing the news. In a tweet, he stated, “I am ecstatic!” Brown also expressed his gratitude to the judges, stating, “It’s such an honor to have [‘The Tradition’] among these beautiful books.” “The Tradition,” published in April of this year, is Brown’s third collection of poems. According to Brown’s website, this “innovative” book seeks beauty “despite and inside” a culture of trauma and terror. It also showcases a new form of poetry that Brown invented called the “duplex.” The duplex mixes elements from the sonnet, the ghazal and the blues. The combination of poetic elements is meant to reflect the intersectional nature of identity. Brown said that he first began working on “The Tradition” around 2013 or 2014, and described the experience as demanding. In writing the poems for this collection, Brown used a variety of forms of poetry to bring a “direct” and “timely” message to his readers. This recognition from the National Book Foundation is not the first recognition Brown has earned for his work. His first book, “Please,” published in 2008, won the American Book Award, while his second, published in 2014 and titled “The New Testament,” won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. In 2016, the National Book Foundation selected Brown to be a judge in the poetry category, a role given to experienced and “distinguished writers.” Brown has received a number of fellowships, including several from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (Mass.) and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown was also awarded the Whiting Award for emerging writers in 2009. The National Book Award is a prize given by the National Book Foundation, which reviews and recognizes the best books published nationwide each year. The foundation recognizes books across five categories, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature and translated literature. Within each category, a panel of judges reviews hundreds of books to narrow down the pool to a longlist, then a list of finalists and finally a winner. The winner will be announced on Nov. 20 at the National Book Awards ceremony in New York City. National Book Awards finalists receive a $1,000 prize, a medal and a citation from the judge’s panel, according to the National Book Foundation website. Winners will receive $10,000.
Meredith Evans, Ph.D.

Meredith Evans, Ph.D.

Reprint from National Archive By Kerri Lawrence | National Archives News WASHINGTON, August 20, 2018 — The director of a Presidential Library administered by the National Archives assumed the top leadership position in the nation’s largest and oldest professional association for archivists. Meredith Evans, Ph.D., Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, GA, became president of the Society of American Archivists last week, during the organization’s joint annual meeting with the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and the Council of State Archivists. refer to caption Enlarge Dr. Meredith Evans, Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, was recently appointed as the 74th President of the Society of American Archivists. Evans discussed her new role with National Archives staff during a recent forum in College Park, Maryland. (National Archives photo by Jeff Reed) Evans joined a long line of National Archives professionals who have served as the chief of the national archivists’ association. “Meredith will be the 13th NARA staff member to serve as SAA president, which is far more than any other organization has supplied,” Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said while introducing Evans during a talk given for National Archives employees, held August 14, 2018, in College Park, MD. He pointed out that the last National Archives official held the position in 1990–91. Evans will act as the SAA’s 74th president in 2018–2019. The SAA, founded in 1936, just two years after Congress created the National Archives, came to be, in part, because of the efforts of National Archives staff. See more here.
Jessica Harris, Ph.D.

Jessica Harris, Ph.D.

October 2, 2019, 3:40 PM Dr. Jessica Harris Vast amounts of information have been generated about one of the country’s most celebrated U.S. presidents, much of which is housed in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). In an effort to continue to advance the efforts of ALPLM, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has appointed Jessica Harris, PhD, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville interim assistant provost for Inclusive Academic Excellence, to the ALPLM board. Harris is one of 11 trustees selected by Pritzker to the new board. “I was contacted by Governor Pritzker’s office and asked if I would be interested in a potential appointment to the ALPLM board, after which I went through an extensive vetting process,” she said. “I feel honored to have this opportunity to serve and look forward to working with other members of the board to advance the mission of the ALPLM.” The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as approximately 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history. The museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects, and innovative storytelling techniques to educate visitors. Appointments to the ALPLM board are pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate. “The role of the board is to set policy and advise the executive director on programs related to ALPLM,” said Harris.
Christoph' McFadden

Christoph' McFadden

January 22, 2019 For more information on this special recognition by the Tom Joyner Foundation, follow this link.
Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence

Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence

November 28, 2018 UNCF/Mellon Programs director Cynthia Neal Spence, Ph.D., visited Duke earlier this month to conduct a series of workshops on diversity recruitment for graduate programs. For more information on the insights that she shared, see the article on Duke’s website: https://gradschool.duke.edu/about/news/director-uncfmellon-program-shares-insights-recruiting-hbcus
A Matter of Degree

A Matter of Degree

Winter 2018 An Emory program that expands opportunities for underrepresented minorities to earn doctorates and faculty positions has received renewed funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Emory’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program will receive $131,000 for the current year. Emory selects its own fellows, rising juniors in Emory College with demonstrated academic excellence and serious intent to pursue a doctoral degree in selected humanities and social sciences. Read more here https://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/issues/2018/winter/points-of-interest/mellon-mays/index.html
Howard Rambsy, Ph.D.

Howard Rambsy, Ph.D.

August 13, 2018 Congratulations to Howard Rambsy, who has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to teach an institute on Frederick Douglass and African American literary studies. Follow this link to his site for more information!