Patricia Smith, who teaches in the English department at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York System, has been selected to receive the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. The award, which comes with a $100,000 prize, is given annually by Claremont Graduate University in California to a poet who “is past the very beginning but not yet reached the pinnacle of his or her career.” The $100,000 prize is the largest in the world for a single volume of poetry.
Professor Smith was honored for her poetry collection Incendiary Art: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2017), which explores tragedy and grief in black communities across America. It is her eighth published poetry collection.
Professor Smith was a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history.
Smith will receive the award April 19 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. The award is one of the largest annual monetary prizes given to a single book of poetry by a mid-career poet, according the Kingsley Tufts website. The award was established at Claremont in 1993 by Kate Tufts to honor her husband, an executive in Los Angeles-area shipyards who also wrote and published poetry.
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York, has announced the establishment of the New York Slavery Records Index, an online archive of slavery records from 1525 until the end of the Civil War.
The new online archive includes more than 35,000 records. The index includes census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents and many other sources. Include are 1,400 birth certificates of slaves and more than 30,000 records that list the names of slave owners in New York. Also included are more than 500 advertisements seeking the capture and return of enslaved New Yorkers.
Karol V. Mason, President of John Jay College, said that “this vast, public database will serve as an important research tool that will support information-based scholarship on slavery in New York and across the nation. The launch of this index marks a significant contribution to understanding and remembering the country’s history of slavery and advances the college’s mission of educating for justice.”
The City University of New York has renamed its preparatory high school in The Bronx in honor of Derrick Griffith, its founding principal. Dr. Griffith was killed in the Amtrak train wreck in Philadelphia this past May.
In a resolution renaming the school, the board of trustees of the City University of New York said that “Dr. Griffith transformed thousands of lives of young New Yorkers who were uplifted by his encouragement as they found the resolve to pursue education and build personal beliefs in their own ability to persevere. He was a true visionary whose compassion and intelligence were paralleled only by his sense of humor and love for his students, colleagues, friends and family.”
At the time of his death, Dr. Griffith was dean of student affairs at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the staff at Medgar Evers College in 2011 as an assistant provost. He served as the founding principal at the Preparatory Transitional High School of the City University of New York from 2003 to 2010.
One month before his death at the age of 42, Griffith completed work on a doctorate in urban education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Edison O. Jackson is the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He has been serving as interim president since May 2012. He has agreed to serve as president until July 2016. The board of trustees stated that it would begin a search for his successor in January 2015.
Dr. Jackson previously served as president of Compton Community College in California and as president of Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York system. He retired as president of Medgar Evers College in 2009 after serving in that position for 20 years.
Dr. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in counseling from Howard University. He holds a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.