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African American Literature & Education
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On this episode, we will discuss African American Literature &with Janet Cheatham Bell who is a writer, editor and independent scholar. Then we will discuss African American Education Dr. Darius D. Prier who is currently an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University.
Episode Segments:
African American Literature: Janet Cheatham Bell
Janet Cheatham Bell is a writer, editor and independent scholar, who has pursued her dream of creating and publishing books since 1986. Her first title Famous Black Quotations and some not so famous was self-published that year, and later licensed to Warner Books. Since then she’s published nine additional quotation books. The quotations she identified and compiled have become part of the cultural lexicon and been used in classrooms, books, movies and television series. A former education consultant for the Indiana Department of Education, Janet has also taught African American literature at a number of colleges. In 1995 and 1996 New City, Chicago’s newspaper of literature and the arts, named her to “The Lit 50: Chicago’s Book World, Who Really Counts.” Janet’s coming-of-age memoir, The Time and Place That Gave Me Life, published by Indiana University Press in 2007, was called “one of the best forms of social history.”
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African American Education: Dr. Darius D. Prier
Darius Prier is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, School of Education, Duquesne University. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; and B.A. and M.P.A. degrees from Wright State University. Prier is currently working on a forthcoming text, The Media war on Black male youth in urban education, which will be published with Routledge. He speaks nationally on matters related to urban youth culture, leadership, and social justice education.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Janice Cheatham Bell
After graduating from Indiana University in 1964, Janet Cheatham Bell began her professional career as a high school librarian in Saginaw, Michigan. In early 1968 she accepted a position at the Ohio University Library in Athens. A few months later, in the wake of student responses to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the university recruited her to teach freshman composition and African American literature.

Bell left Ohio University in 1970 to work as associate editor of The Black Scholar in Sausalito, California. Several months later she was recruited as a research associate for the African and Afro-American Studies Program at Stanford University where she worked with the director and eminent scholar, the late St. Clair Drake. Under the auspices of Dr. Drake's Multi Ethnic Education Resource Center, they published Teaching Black: an Evaluation of Methods and Resources. When that project was completed, Dr. Drake requested that Bell develop a basic collection of books by and about African Americans for Stanford's undergraduate library. He also encouraged her to apply to graduate school and she enrolled in Stanford's doctoral program in English.

When her proposed research was rejected, Bell took a leave from her doctoral studies in 1973. The following year she accepted the position of Ethnic Studies Consultant for the Indiana Department of Education in Indianapolis. The position was created to take advantage of her particular skills and experience. In late 1978 she moved to Boston to assist Ginn & Company, textbook publishers in Lexington, Massachusetts, to develop, diversify and edit a series of literature anthologies for grades seven through twelve. That was her last full-time position. She resigned in 1984 and moved to Chicago where she became an entrepreneur and published her own books.

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