This spring marks the 40th anniversary of a court decision that began the end of an era—the era of segregation, the era of “separate but equal” where the races were separate but anything but equal if you happened to be a black Southerner. It was on May 17, 1954 that the United States Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ended federal tolerance of racial segregation established by an earlier court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In the unanimous 1954 decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren rejected the Plessy doctrine of separate but equal by declaring that “separate educational facilities” were “inherently unequal” because the intangible inequalities of segregation deprived black students of equal protection under the law. The court had spoken, but decades of discrimination could not be erased overnight. Even now, four decades after Brown, America is plagued by racial unrest, and the American dilemma remains just that.
Among those involved first-hand in the struggle to oust Jim Crow in the South in the years following Brown was Leslie W. Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar served first as research director of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, the South’s oldest bi-racial organization, and later became the SRC’s executive director in the early 1960’s. As such he helped establish the Voter Education Project to get blacks to register to vote in such bastions of white resistance as Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Mr. Dunbar headed the SRC during the years of sit-ins, demonstrations, and marches. He left Atlanta in the mid-60’s to become executive director of the Field Foundation in New York City. Now retired, he has returned to the South and resides in Durham, N.C.
The role of black intellectuals in contemporary U.S.culture is examined by Sanford Pinsker who is now writing a book on that subject. A prolific writer and frequent VQR contributor, Mr. Pinsker has been a member of the English Department at Franklin Marshall College since 1967 and a full professor since 1984, the year in which he also became a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Belgium. A native of Pennsylvania, he received his B.A.degree from Washington & Jefferson College, and his Ph. D.from the University of Washington. A prolific author, Mr. Pinsker writes poetry as well as prose, and his books include The Languages of Joseph Conrad, Still Life and Other Poems, Philip Roth: Critical Essay, and Memory Breaks and Other Poems. He was co-editor of Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia.
Tim Gautreaux, a native of south Louisiana, has taught creative writing for 21 years at Southeastern Louisiana University, where for six years he edited Louisiana Literature. His fiction has appeared in Massachusetts Review, Kansas Quarterly, Crescent Review, Stories, Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories of 1992. He has a Ph. D.in English from the University of South Carolina and has studied under James Dickey, George Garrett, and Walker Percy. Currently, he is working on a novel.
A professor of history in a Southern state university, Abe Kriegel recently completed a term as chair of his department. His academic specialty is the political culture of 19th-century Britain, about which he has written in numerous journals, among them The English Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History, and History Today. Mr. Kriegel is the editor of The Holland House Diaries 1831—1840, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has received the Walter Love Prize in History of the Conference on British Studies. He is working on a study of the aristocratic ethic in 19th-century Britain.
Roussie Woodruff’s VQR story, “Gold Bugs” won first prize in the 1993 Irene Leach Literary Contest judged by George Garrett. Ms. Woodruff has also published feature articles in, among other publications, The New York Times and The Asian Wall Street Journal. She also did book reviews over the radio and for two magazines while living in Hong Kong. For the past several years she has been occupied with getting a degree in English (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and only recently started writing fiction again.
A native of Germany, who came to this country in the 1930’s, Hans Schmitt is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia. His last book published by Louisiana was a series of autobiographical essays entitled Lucky Victim: An Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times. He is now writing a book tentatively entitled Quakers and Nazis: Points of Light in a Dark Age, a chronicle of Quaker relief activities, mainly in Germany, during the Nazi era. He also served as the chief editor and writer for Neutral Europe Between War and Revolution, 1917—1923 published by Virginia.
Jack Gilbert lives in San Francisco. His most recent book of poetry, The Great Fires, has just been published by Knopf.
A teacher at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Lynn Doyle recently published her first collection, Living Gloves, which was a winner of the National Poetry Series.
Conrad Hilberry’s latest book, Sorting the Smoke: New and Selected Poems, was published in 1990 by Iowa. He teaches at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
Mary Hower’s work has appeared in Threepenny Review, California Quarterly, and The Iowa Review. She lives in San Francisco.
Kevin Boyle teaches at Elon College in North Carolina and has published poems in The Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, Cutbank, and Northwest Review.
A member of the English Department of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Carl Dennis is the author of Meetings With Time, which was published in 1992 by Viking Penguin.
Laura Mullen’s first collection of poems, The Surface, published by Illinois in 1991, was a winner of the National Poetry Series. She presently teaches at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Valerie Miner is an award-winning writer whose novels include Blood Sisters, All Good Women, Winter’s Edge, and Movement and Murder in the English Department. She is also the author of Trespassing and Other Stories as well as a collection of essays, Rumors from the Cauldron, recently published by Michigan. Ms. Miner has taught more than 20 years including 11 years at the University of California—Berkeley. She is now an associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Her latest novel, A Walking Fire, is due out this fall from the State University of New York Press in their “critical fictions” series.
Early spring for Samuel F. Pickering JR.will be early fall this year since he and his family are spending the academic year in Perth, Western Australia, where Mr. Pickering is a visiting professor at The University of Western Australia. He describes Perth as “a kind of Eden complete with the world’s most poisonous snakes. “The prolific Mr. Pickering has a new book of essays due out later this year. His earlier collections include A Continuing Education, The Right Distance, and Maydays. Mr. Pickering is a permanent member of the English faculty at The University of Connecticut in Stores.
A critic and fiction writer, Greg Johnson is a member of the faculty at Kennisaw State College outside Atlanta and has a Ph. D.degree in American Literature from Emory University. He is the author of two volumes of literary criticism as well as short fiction and poetry. His most recent short story collection entitled Distant Friends was published by The Ontario Review Press in 1990.
Simone Poirier-Bures is a member of the English faculty at Virginia Tech and has two masters degrees, one in English literature from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and one in creative writing from Hollins College. She recently completed a novel entitled Candyman set in Nova Scotia in the late 50’s. Parts of it have appeared in short story form in Artemis, Potatoe Eyes, and The Dalhousie Review.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Tucker Carrington received his B.A.degree from the University of Virginia and his M.F.A. degree from Hollins College. He has traveled in Africa and lived in Paris. He is now a member of the faculty at The Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennesee, where he teaches English and coaches a soccer team. Mr. Carrington has long been interested in the civil rights movement, and his VOR reviews reflect that interest.
Paul Barolsky’s VQR essay, “The Painter Who Almost Became a Cheese, “appeared in the Winter 1994 issue. He is a professor of art history at the University of Virginia and author of a trilogy on Renaissance art and ideas, the titles being Michaelangelo’s Nose (1990), Mona Lisa’s Smiles (1991), and Giotto’s Fall (1992), all published by Penn State.
John Kuehl is a professor emeritus of English at New York University, where he was a specialist in American literature and modern drama. He also had a 27-year association with Robert Hazel whose last collection of poetry is the subject of his VQR review.
Kathy S. Coen grew up in Winchester County, New York, has an A.B.degree from Smith College and an M.A.degree from the University of Iowa. She has taught English and writing in Boston for the past eight years, most recently at Simmons College. In 1992 she received an M.A.degree in creative writing from Boston University. Her poems have appeared in The Nation and Cimarron Review.
Allan H. Pasco is a professor of French at the University of Kansas, the author of Balzacian Montage, and is completing a book on “Alusion: a Literary Graft.”
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