SUNY prof honors Black writers with podcast

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 10:45 PM EST
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POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - A SUNY Potsdam professor is honoring Black History Month by taking a deep dive into African-American literature, and sharing it through a podcast.

You may know African-American authors like Langston Hughes or Toni Morrison, but Dr. Derek Maus can lead you to writers you probably have not heard of.

That includes Jourdon Anderson, whose published letter to his old slave master in 1865 was printed in numerous newspapers, and represents one of the first pieces of African-American satire.

To tell the story of Anderson and others, Maus created a podcast with 28 writers for all the days in February, Black History Month.

“My hope for the series as a whole is not that people understand this as ‘Oh, here are 28 writers you absolutely must know,” Maus said.

“They’re just 28 more names, and hopefully what they do is they sort of stick a chisel into the gigantic mountain of literature that’s out there to read and give people sort of an impression of why digging deeper - which is the title that I gave it - is such an important tool.”

Maus came up with the idea with Clifton Harcum, SUNY Potsdam’s Diversity Director.

“Black History Month should be celebrated 365 days a year. Black authors, investors, scientist, poets musicians,” Harcum said.

“We really need to learn about one another, and understand one another, and the contributions that we’ve contributed to the world.”

Want to sample the podcast? Find links to all the episodes here.

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