Book Talk with Kelisha Graves

On March 9, 2021, Kelisha B. Graves delivered a talk on her book Nannie Helen Burroughs: A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900-1959. Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879–1961) was one of many African American intellectuals whose work has been long excluded from the literary canon. In her time, Burroughs was a celebrated African American (or, in her era, a “race woman”) female activist, educator, and intellectual. This book represents a landmark contribution to the African American intellectual historical project by allowing readers to experience Burroughs in her own words. This anthology of her works written between 1900 and 1959 encapsulates Burroughs’ work as a theologian, philosopher, activist, educator, intellectual, and evangelist, as well as the myriad of ways her career resisted definition.

Burroughs rubbed elbows with such African American historical icons as W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, and Mary McLeod Bethune. These interactions represent much of the existing, easily available literature on Burroughs’ life. This book aims to spark a conversation surrounding Burroughs’ life and work by making available her own tracts on God, sin, the intersections of church and society, black womanhood, education, and social justice. Moreover, the book is an important piece of the growing movement toward excavating African American intellectual and philosophical thought and reformulating the literary canon to bring a diverse array of voices to the table.

About Kelisha B. Graves 

Kelisha B. Graves is a higher education educator, author, and speaker. She is completing a doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education. She is an interdisciplinary and global scholar whose research and teaching reside at the nexus of education and the global Africana experience. Specifically, her areas of research interests include educational leadership and administration, teaching and learning, culturally responsive pedagogy and assessment, curriculum planning and development, educational technology, socio-cultural knowledge, critical race theory, Africana philosophy, and African American intellectual history. She also maintains interests in global education policy and international development with a specific focus on Africa.

Hooks Institute Scholar in Residence, Andre E. Johnson, moderated the event.

Watch the event below