Tag: John Edgar Wideman

Playwright Lynn Nottage and Professor George E. Lewis Inducted Into American Academy of Arts and Letters

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The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1904 as a highly selective group of 50 members within a larger organization called the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Over the years the two groups functioned separately with different memberships, budgets, and boards of directors. In 1993 the two groups finally agreed to form a single group of 250 members under the name of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

George E. Lewis (photo via Macarthur Foundation)

Members are chosen from the fields of literature, music, and the fine arts. Members must be native or naturalized citizens of the United States. They are elected for life and pay no dues. New members are elected only upon the death of other members. Among the current African American members are Kwame Anthony Appiah, Rita Dove, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and Kara Walker.

Lynn Nottage (photo via WYPR)

The American Academy of Arts and Letters recently inducted 12 individuals into the 250-member honorary society. Of the 12 new members, two are African Americans.

George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University in New York City. Professor Lewis came to Columbia in 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San Diego, Mills College in Oakland, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002. A graduate of Yale University, Professor Lewis studied composition and trombone at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Lynn Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a screenwriter, is an associate professor in the theatre department at the Columbia School of the Arts. Nottage is the co-founder of the production company, Market Road Films, which has produced projects for HBO and Showtime as well as independent productions. She is a winner of a MacArthur “genius award.” Nottage is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama.

Brown University Professor John Edgar Wideman Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters

John Edgar Wideman (photo via .com)
John Edgar Wideman (photo via abpspeakers.com)

article via jbhe.com

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1904 as a highly selective group of 50 members within a larger organization called the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Over the years the two groups functioned separately with different memberships, budgets, and boards of directors. In 1993 the two groups finally agreed to form a single group of 250 members under the name of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Members are chosen from the fields of literature, music, and the fine arts. Members must be native or naturalized citizens of the United States. They are elected for life and pay no dues. New members are elected only upon the death of other members.

This year 12 new members were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. One of the 12 new members is John Edgar Wideman.

Wideman is the Asa Messer Professor and professor of Africana studies and literary arts at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Before joining the faculty at Brown, Professor Wideman was a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Professor Wideman grew up in Pittsburgh and then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where he was an all-Ivy League basketball player. His senior year at Penn, Wideman was named a Rhodes Scholar, the first African American to win the honor in over a half century.

After returning from Oxford, Wideman graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Professor Wideman is the author of numerous novels, short story collections, and memoirs including Brothers and Keepers (Henry Holt, 1984) and Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society (Pantheon, 1994).

Four Black Women Win Rhodes Scholarships for 2016

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(L to R) Ilhan A. Dahir, Jennifer C. Hebert, Logan C. Jackson, and Ericka M. Wheeler (photo via jbhe.com)

The Rhodes Trust has announced the latest class of 32 American students who will study at the University of Oxford as Rhodes Scholars. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

This year’s class of Rhodes Scholars was chosen from a pool of 869 students who were endorsed by 316 different colleges and universities. There were 208 finalists from 93 colleges and universities that were selected in 16 different geographic districts. Two students from each district were chosen as Rhodes Scholars. Students can enter the competition in the district in which they reside or the district where they attended college.

Of this year’s 32 American Rhodes Scholars, it appears that four are African Americans. All four are women.

Ilhan A. Dahir is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and political science. She is now teaching English in Turkey as a Fulbright Fellow. Dahir is the daughter of Somali immigrants. Dahir plans to earn two master’s degrees at Oxford, one on refugee and forced migration studies and one in global governance and diplomacy.

Jennifer C. Hebert is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in the biological basis of behavior. She is a member of the university’s rowing team and the U.S. national rowing team. Her senior thesis involves research on the effects of nicotine exposure or stress on neural circuitry. Hebert will study for a master’s degree in psychiatry at Oxford.

Logan C. Jackson from Lexington, Kentucky, is a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, majoring in structural engineering. She has a perfect grade point average so far in her undergraduate career. Jackson is president of the Northeastern University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She plays the viola in the university’s symphony orchestra. At Oxford, Jackson plans to study for a master’s degree in education and a master’s degree in evidence-based social intervention and policy.

Ericka M. Wheeler is the first African American woman from the state of Mississippi to win a Rhodes Scholarship. She is a senior at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She is majoring in history and English and also taking a pre-med curriculum. Wheeler is co-president of the Millsaps College Gospel Choir and president of the Intercultural Student Organization. Wheeler plans to study for a master’s degree in medical anthropology at Oxford.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It is generally believed that at the time of the award the Rhodes committee did not know that Locke was Black until after he had been chosen. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar.

That year, John Edgar Wideman, now a famed author as well as a professor at Brown University, was selected. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978, Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

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Five African Americans Named Rhodes Scholars for 2015

(L to R) Robert A. Fisher, Rachel V. Harmon, Ridwan Y. Hassen, Tayo A. Sanders II, and Sarah E. Yermina

The Rhodes Trust has announced the latest class of 32 American students who will study at the University of Oxford as Rhodes Scholars. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It is generally believed that at the time of the award the Rhodes committee did not know that Locke was Black until after he had been chosen. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar.

That year, John Edgar Wideman, now a famed author as well as a professor at Brown University, was selected. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978, Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

This year’s class of Rhodes Scholars was chosen from a pool of 877 students who were endorsed by 305 different colleges and universities. There were 207 finalists from 86 colleges and universities that were selected in 16 different geographic districts. Two students from each district were chosen as Rhodes Scholars. Students can enter the competition in the district in which they reside or the district where they attended college.

Of this year’s 32 American Rhodes Scholars, it appears that five are African Americans.

Robert A. Fisher is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is majoring in political science with minors in history and Africana studies. He previously won a Truman Scholarship. Fisher is the student body president at the university and has a perfect academic record. Fisher will study for a master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford.

Rachel V. Harmon is from Champaign, Illinois. She is a senior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she is majoring in industrial and labor relations. Before starting her college career, Harmon was an AmeriCorps volunteer at a rural elementary school in the Mississippi Delta. She plans on studying for a master’s degree in evidence-based social policy at Oxford.

Ridwan Y. Hassen is a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Hassen is majoring in computer science with an emphasis on neuroscience. He began his college career at Emory University and transferred to Dartmouth after two years. He is the son of refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia. At Dartmouth, he is a member of the Endurance Racing Team. Hassen is planning to pursue a master’s degree in public policy at Oxford.

Tayo A. Sanders II is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he is majoring in materials science. Sanders previously won a Goldwater Scholarship. Sanders has conducted research in the nanomaterials laboratory at the University of Strasbourg in France. Sanders is a triathlete. At Oxford, Sanders plans to earn a Ph.D. in materials science.

Sarah E. Yermina is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. She is majoring in sociology. During the summer of 2013, Yerima completed an intensive program in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro. She will enroll in a two-year, master’s degree program in politics at Oxford. After studying at Oxford, Yermina plans to enter a joint J.D./Ph.D. and hopes to become a professor of law.

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