Introduction to the Digital Humanities (IDH) Program:

The IDH Program was created to introduce the Digital Humanities to scholars who work with Black literature but who have relatively little knowledge / experience in the Digital Humanities (DH) field. A goal of the program is for scholars to apply DH methods to their own research and to go forth and help others do the same. As such, many successful past and present scholars are higher education professionals, graduate students, teachers, librarians, and archivists. We also welcome applications from those employed in museums, historical societies, or other similar organizations. Teams (a librarian and a faculty member, for example) are especially encouraged to apply. All IDH Program scholars have the desire to advance the teaching and research goals of the program.  Thus, we will make more Black literary resources available and prepare a new generation of digital practitioners.

BBIP and the IDH Program are the professional development component of HBW, which houses the largest digital archive of Black fiction in existence. As the HBW corpus continues to grow, we are increasing the discoverability and access to unknown and well-known texts for research and teaching purposes.


    Sidra Smith earned her PhD from Tufts University, with a focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century African American literature. Since earning her doctorate, she has taught literature, writing, and Black cultural expression at both secondary schools and institutions of higher education. She recently accepted an adjunct position at the Peabody College of Vanderbilt.

    D. Seth Horton is a critic and creative writer who focuses mostly on the regional literature of the Borderlands and American Southwest. He earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Maryland. His work has appeared in more than forty publications. Two of his stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His latest book was an anthology, Road to Nowhere and Other New Stories from the Southwest, which was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2018. He currently teaches literature, writing, and creative writing in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of Virginia.
  • SABRINA BRAMWELL Howard University

    Sabrina Bramwell (she/her) is a first-year Ph.D. student at Howard University. Her literary and research focus includes Caribbean and African American works, concentrating on recorded acts of resistance in Anglocreole cultures and traditions alongside Afrofuturism. She is interested in processes like creolization and marronage alongside Afrofuturist techniques that are processes engaged in recovering the value of cultural expressions. She is cognizant of the ways in which dominant and submerged narratives have historically framed culture and identity and hopes to make a digital contribution through archival works and interactive pedagogy. Prior to enrolling at Howard University, Sabrina completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at SUNY Geneseo and proceeded to work in the Office of Admissions as a regional New York City counselor for 3 years. Currently, when she is not studying or engaged in research, Sabrina can be found journaling, watching a new sci-fi/superhero movie in theatres, or playing (competitive) games with her family.

    Robin Brooks, PhD is a scholar who examines cultural matters concerning Black communities in the United States and the wider African Diaspora. She is an assistant professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and her current research focuses particularly on African American and English-speaking Caribbean populations with special attention to matters of inequality and social justice. Her primary research and teaching interests include contemporary cultural and literary studies as well as working-class studies, Black feminist theory, postcolonial studies, digital humanities, higher education management, and education policy. She is the author of several publications on writers and literature of the African Diaspora, including Class Interruptions: Inequality and Division in African Diasporic Women’s Fiction (University of North Carolina Press, 2022), which is a book that examines how contemporary writers use literary portrayals of class to critique inequalities and divisions in the U.S. and Caribbean. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, she was a Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of San Diego and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of South Florida. For the 2019-2020 academic year, she was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in residence at Emory University. Website:
  • PORTIA OWUSU Texas A&M University

    Portia Owusu (PhD, SOAS, University of London) (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University, where she teaches and researches topics in African American, African, and diaspora literature. Her research interests are history/ historiography; memory; cultural philosophy, and contemporary narratives of slavery. She has published on these topics in articles and in her book, Spectres from the Past: Slavery and the Politics of "History" in West African and African-American Literature (Routledge, 2019). Her current project is on death and mourning in Africa and the diaspora.

    Dr. Nicole Dezrea Jenkins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University. She received her Doctoral degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the Department of Sociology in 2020. She obtained an M.A. in Sociology in 2017 and B.A. in Sociology in 2015 from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. In 2013, she received an A.A. in Criminal Justice after serving six years of active duty in the United States Air Force as Military Police. She is a proud advocate for social justice and committed to teaching with such emphasis on topics such as race and ethnicity, poverty, and the Black community. As a qualitative researcher, she incorporates intersectional and critical feminist frameworks into her own research, centering the experiences of women of color. Her most current research project incorporates two years of ethnographic data collection in a Las Vegas African hair braiding salon. She discusses labor, identity making in the African diaspora, work-family balance, and the racialized politics of appearance for Black women. Her findings provide a look inside the lived experiences of women of African diaspora and insight into some of the most significant parts of their identities. Nicole D. Jenkins is currently completing her first monograph, "'CROWNed: Black Women’s Entanglement with Beauty, Work, and Family." The manuscript is an extension of her dissertation research and examines the lived experiences of women of the African Diaspora throughout various institutions in the U.S. Specifically, the institutions of beauty, work, and family. Her most current research expands on concerns of natural hair discrimination and examines its Global impact on people of the African Diaspora.

    Michelle Cowin Gibbs, Ph.D. M.F.A. (she/her) is an assistant professor and head of the B.A. program in Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her scholarly research interests include a spectrum of interdisciplinary studies in Black theatre, dance, and performance. As a Zora Neale Hurston scholar, Michelle is interested in tracing the relationship among Hurston’s work as an anthropologist, ethnographer, and playwright. Her current work is a digital project that cross-references Hurston’s play text and her other digital archives to examine Hurston's perceptions of early 20th century Black women identities. As a solo performance artist, Michelle uses her body as a site for inquiry into how Black racialization and Black female sexualization manifest into performances of affect - teetering between the spaces of tragic/comical and repulsive/alluring. Recent solo performance works include: A Thing Held in Full View, a commentary on race, gender, and women's reproductive rights in Texas and Blunt-Force Trauma: A Mother's Performance in Empathy, a feminist autoethnographic performance that explores the relationship among motherhood, cruelty, and forgiveness. Michelle received a Ph.D. in Theatre from Bowling Green State University. She holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of California, Irvine and a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University.

    Maggie Brown-Peoples is a first-year Master’s student in Museum Studies at the University of Kansas and an intern at the Spencer Museum of Art. She is looking forward to being a part of important work from treasured people. All of her work is in honor of those before who allowed her to be where she is as a Black woman. Digitally we are connected, but we must highlight the Black voices we are disconnected from.

    Lavonda Kay Broadnax’s primary research interest is the diverse set of literature written by African American women who lived during the U.S. Civil War. Her initial compilation, of the online version of these works, was the catalyst for her to win the Zora Neale Hurston Award. This award is given by the American Library Association for leadership in promoting African-American literature. The compilation has been expanded and now resides on the Library of Congress website @ African American Women Authors of the Civil War Era: A Resource Guide. Ms. Broadnax earned her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.S.L.S. from Case Western Reserve University.
  • KYR MACK Howard University

    Kyr R. Mack (he/him) is a Master Instructor at Howard University where he teaches freshman composition and technical communications courses. He received his Master of Arts in English with concentrations in African American Literature and Rhetoric from Howard University. His research interests include the African American Vernacular tradition, Black popular culture, critical pedagogy, and composition studies. Kyr’s current research project challenges discourses of power by examining writerly texts in the Black rhetorical tradition as sites of vernacular transcription.

    Kevin Lucas is a lecturer in the Department of English and World Literature at Augusta University. He received a PhD in comparative literature from Emory University in December of 2019. He teaches writing, world literature, and interdisciplinary humanities at AU, and his research focuses on how ideas of sacrifice and tragedy influence artistic and political debate in Europe and North America.

    As a public scholar active in the fields of communication studies and Africology, Kevin J. Hales examines the lives of everyday African-descended people around the world. Hales studies ethnicity (“race”), diversity, inclusion, equity, social justice, conflict, and communication across cultures. Dr. Hales has earned a litany of prestigious research and teaching awards throughout his career. Hales has received research funding from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Newberry Library, University of Tennessee-Knoxville/Marco Institute and Center for Renaissance Studies, J. William Fulbright Scholar Program, Fulbright-Hayes Program, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), United States Department of State/Bureau of African Affairs, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, Ohio University/Scripps College of Communication, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, among other institutions and programs. As a firm believer in fostering research projects that include collaborations with traditional intellectuals in marginalized communities, Hales has research partnerships with local scholars working among the Efik, Efut, Qua, and Igbo (Nigeria and Cameroon); Garifuna (Honduras and Belize); and Gullah/Geechee (South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida). In addition, Hales is also working with researchers in Brazil, Italy, and Sierre Leone. Dr. Hales has given lectures as a visiting scholar and researcher at several universities abroad. These include the University of Makeni (Sierra Leone), University of Oran 2 (Algeria), and Imo State University (Nigeria). Dr. Hales attended Ohio University (Ph.D. and M.A. in Communication Studies), North Carolina Central University (M.A. in History), and Fisk University (B.A. in History, Religion, and Philosophy).
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