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Paths to Justice

Paths to Justice

PATHS TO JUSTICE: African-American Culture in Texas

Black Texans' Stories Focus of Southwestern Writers Collection Symposium

A special panel discussion on Texas African American culture will be held at TxState's Southwestern Writers Collection on November 15 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm in conjunction with the Collection's current exhibit, Paths to Justice: African-American Culture in Texas.

The discussion, "History, Folklore, and Fiction in African American Texas," features one of the state's leading writers, Angela Shelf Medearis, and scholars Elvin Holt, TxState Professor of English, and Dwight Watson, TxState Assistant Professor of History. The symposium will be moderated by Mark Busby, Director of TxState's Center for the Study of the Southwest.The participants will discuss how the unique historical conditions of Black Texans have influenced the state's literature and journalism. African Americans have often overcome obstacles to document and celebrate their lives in history, folklore, and fiction. The panelists will also take questions from the audience.

Angela Shelf Medearis is one of Texas' most successful children's book authors and a major donor to the Southwestern Writers Collection. Medearis, a TxState alumnus, has written nearly 70 books in the past dozen years and received numerous awards. She began donating her literary papers to the Southwestern Writers Collection in 1998 and she is prominently featured in the current exhibit.

Dr. Elvin Holt, Professor of English at TxState, specializes in African American literature and cultural studies, Autobiography, American literature, and African literature. He joined the TxState faculty in 1983. Professor Holt's essays and reviews have been published in The Zora Neale Hurston Forum, The Griot, Xavier Review, Studies in American Humor, Texas Books in Review, and Southwestern American Literature. Currently, Dr. Holt is working on a book-length narrative of the life of Rev. Alphonso Washington, local preacher, civic leader, and plumbing contractor.
Dr. Dwight Watson joined the TxState faculty in 1999 as a specialist in African American History and he is currently an Assistant Professor of History. Dr. Watson is the author of the forthcoming book from Texas A&M University Press, A Change Did Come: The Social and Racial Transformation of the Houston Police Department, 1930-1984.
Dr. Mark Busby is Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest and Professor of English at TxState. He has written books on Ralph Ellison and Larry McMurtry. His most recent books are Fort Benning Blues: a Novel and he is co-editor of From Texas to the World and Back : Essays on the Journeys of Katherine Anne Porter.

The current exhibit at the Southwestern Writers Collection, Paths to Justice: African-American Culture in Texas, traces how the state's African-American writers, musicians, photographers and artists have created unique and moving portraits of their people, often challenging racist attitudes along the way. The wealth of images, sounds, words and works offers an opportunity to understand the important contributions of Texas' African-Americans and discover the resources available at TxState for African-American studies.