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    HBCU Symposium to Re-Imagine the African American Canon for Teaching Writing

    September 23, 2019

    2018 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author James Forman Jr. will open the summit with a special presentation

    ATLANTA— The Third HBCU Rhetoric & Composition Symposium, a national summit focusing on excellence in English composition and rhetoric, will be held at Morehouse College from September 26-28. This year’s symposium “Re-imagining the African American Canon for Teaching Composition at HBCUs” is sponsored by Bedford/St. Martin’s, an imprint of Macmillan Learning, and Morehouse College.

    The annual summit is a think tank for English professors and other educators that attracts some of the greatest minds in literature and composition from historically black colleges nationwide and other universities that serves large populations of students of color.

    “We are honored to host the third annual HBCU Composition Summit on the campus of Morehouse College,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “Some of the world’s most eloquent and profound writers were educated at HBCUs, from Toni Morrison and Alice Walker to Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. Focusing on excellence in writing is a campus-wide priority at Morehouse across all academic divisions. This conference aligns with that important goal.”

    “Bedford/St. Martin’s is proud to support what we know will be a vibrant exchange among scholars and writers from HBCUs and predominantly Black colleges,” said Leasa Burton, Vice President of Humanities for Macmillan Learning. “We recognize the need for diverse voices and have long partnered with educators to support connections across campuses and communities. We hope that this year’s program will inspire the next generation of African American teachers and writers.”

    Highlights of the 2019 symposia include:

    • Presentation and book signing by 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winning Author James Forman Jr.(Locking Up Our Own, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan) will open the symposium with a special presentation
    • A private tour and overview of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, along with a discussion on how to use it to teach composition
    • A full day of panels on topics that vary from strategies of teaching writing to “Reimagining the Role of Black Fiction, to “Writing in the Discipline and Teaching Black Excellence,” among others

    Leah Creque, Ph.D., Professor of English and Honors Program Director, issued the invitation for the symposium to be hosted at Morehouse College during her tenure as chair of the Department of English. Dr. Nathaniel Norment, Director of the Writing Center and The Black Ink Project serves as the conference co-chair. Programming was chosen following a call for papers, roundtables, and workshops by a collaborative group of external reviewers led by Dr. Jason DePolo, North Carolina A&T and Dr. David Green, Howard University.

    *Sessions include:

    Sept 26:

    • Presentation: James Forman Jr., Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Locking Up Our Own
    • Welcome remarks: Loretta Parham, Director of the AUC Robert Woodruff Library
    • Panel: Using the King Collection to Teach Composition
    • Tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, Morehouse College
    • Keynote Address: Black Writers: Why We Write, Dr. Daniel Black

    Sept. 27:

    • Panel: Role of the Writing Center at North Carolina A&T State University.
    • Panel: Baldwin, Giovanni, and Hughes: Teaching Writing at HBCUs
    • Panel: Then and Now: Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum at HBCUs
    • Panel: Writing for Success
    • Panel: Hurston in the Contemporary Writing Classroom: Reimagining the Role of Black Fiction at HBCUs
    • Panel: Culturally Relevant Content and Assessing African American Students’ Writing
    • Panel: Where da Ladiez At?!: Rethinking Labor, Love, and Language Through Traditional and Contemporary Texts in the HBCU Composition Classroom.
    • Panel: When Harlem was in Vogue: Harlem’s Icons at HBCUs
    • Panel: Interrogating “The New Writing Center” at HBCUs
    • Panel: #NotYaClassicCompCourse: Reciprocal Learning Possibilities for Redefining the HBCU Composition Classroom.
    • Panel: Constructivist Paradigms and Digital Writing in a Socially Mediated World
    • Panel: Writing in the Discipline and Teaching Black Excellence
    • Strategies and Best Practices for Teaching Writing to African American Students
    • Panel: Creating and Providing Agency and Identity through the Teaching of Writing
    • Panel: Perspectives on Teaching in First Year Writing Programs at HBCUs

    Sept. 28, 2019

    • Curriculum Working Group Session
    • Publication Working Group Session 

    Follow #HBCUComp19 on Twitter. Media interested in attending should email

    *Speakers and sessions are as of September 19, 2019 and are subject to change.

    About Morehouse College

    Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,200 students and is the nation’s top producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs, with five Morehouse Men receiving the honor. Historically, Morehouse has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries. For more information visit

    About Macmillan Learning

    Macmillan Learning is a privately-held, family-owned company that improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that are empathetic, highly effective, and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit or see us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community.


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