2020 Francelia Butler Lecture Dr. Althea Tait

Althea TaitAlthea Tait ( M.A., The University of Tulsa; Ph.D., Morgan State University)is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at SUNY, the College at Brockport.  Her teaching and research interests revolve around Black Women’s Literature, African American Children’s and YA literature, Black poetry and poetics, Black Women and Girls Studies, and Popular Culture at undergraduate and graduate levels. In the spirit of activism these fields inherently espouse, she has taken her research and scholarship to diverse groups such as incarcerated women concluding their debts to society, to women and children in addiction centers, and to children thriving through studies and the creation of poetry in spaces such as the former Black Wall Street--the location of the Tulsa Race Riots. She has delivered presentations on Black Literature and Culture across the nation ranging from Margaret Walker’s legacy at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi to Toni Morrison’s import to an asset-based approach to understanding Black culture and literature at Harvard University. She has published works focusing on Black poetry, Toni Morrison studies, and the ways black women writers move from their usual focus on adult fiction into the field of African American children’s literature. Her most recent publications include “Empathy: ‘The [Probing] Problem We all Live With’” to be released in The Lion and the Unicorn,and “Sound is the DNA: Teaching Anthems of the Harlem Renaissance and Hip Hop” in the MLA Approaches to Teaching the Harlem Renaissance collection. Recently she co-edited the collection of critical articles and creative scholarship in the forthcoming anthology from the University Press of Mississippi, I Die Daily: Police Brutality, Black Bodies, and the Force of Children’s Literature. She is currently completing a monograph on intergenerational longing and resilience in Black culture and literature. Her narrative approach to scholarship reflects her passion for sound and catching sound in song or playing her acoustic guitar with what has been described as the soul of a piece: “three chords and the truth.”