The DC Public library will host a dynamic panel of Morrison scholars, including Dr. Dana Williams, AJ Verdelle, Dr. Evelyn Schreiber, and Dr. Angelyn Mitchell. This panel will discuss their relationship with Morrison and the growing movement to silence her work in today's banned book campaigns. There will also be an opening performance by musical performer sponsored by Mars Arts D.C.
In addition, Complimentary copies of "Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship" and Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" will be distributed to the first 100 registrants, sponsored by the D.C. Public Library Foundation and Mahogany Books. You can learn more about the panelists below.
Meet the Panel:
A specialist in contemporary African American Literature, Dana A. Williams earned her B.A. in English from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA in 1993, her M.A. in 1995 from Howard University, and her Ph.D. in African American Literature from Howard University in 1998. As a recipient of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar award in 1999, she was a visiting research fellow at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Before returning to Howard University as a faculty member in 2003, Dr. Williams taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for four years. In 2008-09, she was a faculty fellow at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and she assumed the chairmanship of the Department in 2009, serving three terms in that position. In 2019, she was appointed interim dean of the Graduate School and then named permanent dean in 2021.
A.J Verdelle is a creative writer, publishing in multiple genres with a primary focus on fiction and creative nonfiction. Verdelle began her teaching career at Princeton University, where she was on the faculty with Toni Morrison. In May 2022, Verdelle published a memoir of their 20-year relationship—Miss Chloe: A Memoir of Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison (Harper/Amistad). Verdelle teaches graduate students in the MFA program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Verdelle also teaches undergraduates at Morgan State University in Baltimore, an HBCU. Verdelle's first novel, The Good Negress, is taught nationally in high schools and colleges and has been referred to as a modern classic. The Good Negress has gone through three paperback licenses and has been continuously in print for over 25 years. Verdelle has received awards from the Whiting Foundation, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Evelyn Jaffe Schreiber, Ph.D., is a Professor of English at The George Washington University. Her book, Subversive Voices: Eroticizing the Other in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, examined identity and race via the theory of Jacques Lacan and cultural studies and was awarded the Toni Morrison Society book prize. It was a finalist for the MLA award for best first book 2003. Her book, Race, Trauma, and Home in the Novels of Toni Morrison is an interdisciplinary study of trauma in Morrison's fiction, published in 2010. It was awarded the Toni Morrison Society Book Prize and nominated for the MLA William Sanders Scarborough Prize for an outstanding scholarly study of black American literature or culture in 2011.
Dr. Angelyn Mitchell is an associate professor of English and African American Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She served as the founding director of the African American Studies Program from 2003-2013. Her books include Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present (Duke UP, 1994), the first anthology to chronicle twentieth-century African American literary and cultural criticism, and The Freedom to Remember: Narrative, Slavery, & Gender in Contemporary Black Women's Fiction (Rutgers UP, 2002), an intersectional feminist study of contemporary narrative revisions of Black women in slavery. She also co-edited The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Writing(Cambridge UP, 2009), a comprehensive examination of the literary traditions of African American women writers. In addition, she is currently completing a book entitled "Toni Morrison: A Writerly Life," a bio-critical study. She is a founding member and past officer of the Toni Morrison Society and serves on its board of directors.
Special Performance sponsored by Mars Arts D.C.
Bajan - African American Soprano Alexandria Crichlow is known for her captivating stage presence and smooth timbre. Alexandria received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morgan State University and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Mannes School of Music, where she studied with Margaret Lattimore. She is an honored recipient of multiple grants and competitions, including the Michael Sisca Award and the Marian Marcus Wahl Memorial award. First prize winner in The National Association of Teachers Maryland District Competition and The National Association of Negro Musicians Maryland Chapter’s Marian Anderson Vocal Competition.