Sarah Arbuthnot Lendt (She/Her) is the Research Project and Program Coordinator for the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW). Sarah earned her M.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 2007. In her nearly 20 years with HBW, she has coordinated a number of programs, including the NEH-funded Language Matters II: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison (2005), Making the Wright Connection: Reading Native Son, Black Boy and Uncle Tom's Children (2010), Don't Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry (2013), Black Poetry after the Black Arts Movement (2015), and Hurston on the Horizon: Past, Present, and Future (2021), as well the ACLS-funded Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) Scholar Program. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two children.

    Maryemma Graham is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas. In 1983 she founded the Project on the History of Black Writing, which has been at the University of Kansas since 1999. With 10 published books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature with Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (2011), The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel (2004), Fields Watered with Blood: Critical Essays on Margaret Walker (2002), Teaching African American Literature: Theory and Practice (1998), and The Complete Poems of Frances E.W. Harper (1988) and more than 100 essays, book chapters, and creative works, she will publish with support from the Hall Center for the Humanities the translingual volume Toni Morrison: Au delà du visible ordinaire/Beyond the Visible and Ordinary with co-editors Andrée-Anne Kekeh (Université Paris 8) and Janis A. Mayes (Syracuse University) in 2014 and The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker in 2015. Her public humanities initiatives and international projects since her arrival at KU include The Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, 2002-2005, the Language Matters teaching initiative for the Toni Morrison Society 2003-2010, the Haiti Research Initiative 2011, and “Don’t Deny My Voice,” whose first summer institute on African American poetry was held in 2013. Graham has been a John Hope Franklin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a Ford and Mellon Fellow and has received more than 15 grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to African American literature and culture, Graham teaches course in genre studies (the novel and autobiography), Inter American Studies (transnationalism, the Global South) and is an active proponent of the digital humanities.

    Ayesha Hardison is Associate Professor in the Departments of English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas. Her book Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature(University of Virginia Press 2014) examines representations of black women in the 1940s and 1950s. Winner of the Nancy Dasher Award from the College English Association of Ohio and designated a 2014 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association, the monograph discusses the work of well-known writers like Richard Wright, Ann Petry, and Gwendolyn Brooks as well as neglected figures such as Jackie Ormes, Curtis Lucas, and Era Bell Thompson. Hardison has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation and Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and she has published articles in African American Review and Meridians. Currently, her research projects include studying African American literature and culture of the 1930s and exploring depictions of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in contemporary black cultural production. She teaches courses on twentieth-century and contemporary African American novels, black women’s writing, and black feminist theory.​



    Victoria Garcia Unzueta (sher/her, they/them) currently serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) where she manages the social media team and organizes the content that’s featured on HBW’s blog and social media sites. She is currently a junior studying journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications. Her future plans are to work in advertising helping non-profits or internationally focused businesses. Victoria joined the HBW team her freshman year as an Emerging Scholar undergraduate research assistant. She worked with the social media team to curate blog posts and social media content. She also worked on HBW’s 2020 Black Literary Suite “Black Writing in Reel Time'' where she helped research and write.

    Sandra Jacobo (she/her) currently works as the coordinator for the Black Literary Suite for 2022. She is a PhD student in the English department. Her research focuses on Afro-Caribbean narratives from the Hispanophone Caribbean and Haiti. At present, her pedagogical goals are to teach and present her students with Caribbean literature; highlighting other[ed] experiences of blackness in the United States.
  • Petre Dimitriu

    Petre (He/Him) is a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from Topeka, Kansas. He is majoring in English with a concentration on rhetoric and language. He is a student at the Honors College and a member of the KU Chess Club. Some of his many hobbies include juggling, playing bass, reading Romanian children’s books, and learning about flags.

    Onat Kolcu (He/Him) is a Political Science Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas. He has a B.A. from the Izmir University of Economics (Turkey) in International Relations and European Union. Also, he has an M.A. degree in Sustainable Energy from the same university. His research focuses on energy governance, terrorism, and Turkish politics. He likes to travel and learn about other cultures, especially their cuisines. Onat is currently a member of the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) at the University of Kansas.

    Meleah Perez is a poetry MFA student at the University of Kansas. She has a B.A. from the University of Arkansas in both journalism and creative writing. Her passions are wide-ranging and impossible to count, but among them are creative writing, anti-racism, Scorpio season, yoga, and her dog, Sadie. Meleah is currently a member of the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) as a collections assistant at KU and hopes to create a bubble of inclusivity wherever she goes.
  • Lucy Whittington


    Jared Ohm is the Black Literature Network Coordinator for the Project of the History of Black Writing (BHW). Jared earned his B.S. in Biology from Northwest Missouri State University in 2016 and Masters in Clinical Psychology from Emporia State University in 2020. Jared is currently in his second year in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at the University of Kansas. Jared has worked as a therapist with predominantly Black populations in the Kansas correctional system for the past three years. When not conducting research or school related tasks, Jared enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and doing Zumba.

    Jade Harrison is a second-year doctoral student in English studying late-twentieth century African American women’s literature and compliments her literary studies in the Digital Humanities. She is currently a member of the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) and serves as Project Manager for the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) at the University of Kansas.

    Itzik Harosh is a 3rd year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program at KU. His role through B2 Digital Project is focused on the transfer of content of the previous BBIP site to the new system. In addition, he will provide support with deliverables for the Digital Humanities Advancement Grant.

    Erin Murray (She/Her) is a Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology at KU. She is currently a member of the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) and coordinator for the BBIP Scholars Program Digital Publishing cohort. In her free time, Erin enjoys painting, playing basketball, taking long walks with her dog Atlas, and listening to spooky podcasts – she is a Halloween baby after all.

    David Jones Miller (He/Him) is a poet, publisher, and PhD student at the University of Kansas. He is the author of several books and chapbooks, including CANT (Black Radish Books), Fold (These Signals Press), As Sequence (These Signals Press), and Facts & Other Objects (JR Vansant). He lives with his family.

    Brendan Williams-Childs (he/him) is a Collections Assistant with the Black Book Interactive Project (BBIP) and a graduate research assistant with the BBIP and HathiTrust Research Center collaboration. He is pursuing an MFA in Fiction and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies.

    Ashley Simmons is a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas, where she is coordinating the organization of HBW’s archive. She graduated from Howard University with her bachelor's and Bowie State University (where she was awarded the BSU Graduate Scholar Award for her research) with a master's in English. Most of her research before coming to KU has focused on black science fiction and the expansion of Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, using this concept as a lens for discussing queer futurity. Through her time in the BBIP Scholars program, Ashley has expanded her research to include defining black transgressive fiction. In addition to her studies, Ashley has a background in media education and civic engagement in the after-school setting. Students she has worked with received awards for their documentary on the intersection of police brutality with a national lack of resources dedicated to student engagement during and after school. Ashley hopes to continue her passion for media production and education while pursuing her Ph.D. at KU.
  • Amar Kamalulrahim

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