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AFRICA
Africana Archives: Excerpts:
Gloria Wade Gayles, Ph.D.
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Pushed Back to Strength: A Black Womanís Journey Home

© 2003 by Gloria Wade-Gayles. Boston: Beacon Press. Used by permission of the author and publisher. May not be presented in any form elsewhere without permission from copyright holders.

"For My Childrenís Remembering"


It always happened during the summer. The children knew that. They also knew never to ask me when a southern heat owned the night and made even empty beds sweat. That would have been the logical time to ďgive in,Ē but it was never about logic. It was about remembering my own childhood and making it magical for my own children. Only cool summer nights, I was convinced, were made for magic.

The steps were always the same. I would sit on the floor next to the bathtub while they played with their favorite animals or their imaginary friend who dressed in white suds and spoke in a little bitty voice. When they were so clean their brown bodies glistened like polished oak, they raced to their beds where Winnie the Pooh or Babar the Elephant lay waiting to cover the nakedness that felt good to them, and to me. MORE



Father Songs: Testimonies by African-American Sons and Daughters

© 1997, Edited by Gloria Wade-Gayles, Boston: Beacon Press. Used by permission of the author and publisher. May not be presented in any form elsewhere without permission from copyright holders.

"A Line of Storytellers," by Devorah Major


I could fall asleep anywhere when I was a child. If I was tired I could curl up in the corner of a strangerís sofa, doze off leaning against an overstuffed armchair, catnap in the back seat of a car, or snooze, chin couched in hand, at my school desk. Sleeping, then or now, was rarely a problem for me. That is, I could fall asleep anywhere if I was tired. If I wasnít sleepy, my eyes stayed open, and my mind concocted all kinds of tales. I saw mythological beings in the cracks on my walls, and landscapes in the shadows on the ceiling. Most of the time I could amuse myself with the scenery of darkness until, minutes or hours later, I dozed off to sleep. But for some reason, on this particular night, I would not fall asleep. MORE



My Soul is A Witness: African American Women's Spirituality

© 1995, by Gloria Wade-Gayles. Boston: Beacon Press. Used by permission of the author and publisher. May not be presented in any form elsewhere without permission from copyright holders.

"The Spirit Keeps the Memory of the Ancestors Alive," by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn


In October 1969, Ma dreamed that she was crying at her motherís grave. Six months later in April 1970, my grandmother, Mabel Van Horn, died. It was then that my mother, Jeanne Terborg, realized that she had prophetic dreams. From time to time she reminds us of what happened shortly after she married and left Indianapolis for Brooklyn in the 1940s. She dreamed that her brother and his friend were lying on the ground with an automobile tire on top of them. Soon after she learned that they had been in a car accident. The ability frightened her. I later realized her ability as a source of power. MORE



My Soul is A Witness: African American Women's Spirituality

© 1995, by Gloria Wade-Gayles. Boston: Beacon Press. Used by permission of the author and publisher. May not be presented in any form elsewhere without permission from copyright holders.


"The 'Finny-Finny' Rain: Three Womenís Spiritual Bonding on Sapelo Island," by Gloria Wade-Gayles with Ellen Finch

As planned, we met up at the Atlanta Airport forty-five minutes before the last flight to Savannah, Georgia, each of us rushing in from a task we had rushed to complete. Onlookers no doubt thought we had not seen each other for a long time, so spirited was our greeting. We hugged tightly with our arms and our eyes and leaned close together in chairs that faced the wide avenue of Deltaís Concourse B. Had the chairs not been stationary, we would have pushed them closer and sat in a circle. MORE



Preview These Recommended Titles at Google Book Search and Amazon.com:

In Praise of Our Teachers: A Multicultural Tribute to Those Who Inspired Us by Gloria Wade-Gayles

Rooted Against the Wind: Personal Essays by Gloria Wade-Gayles

Conversations With Gwendolyn Brooks by Gwendolyn Brooks, Gloria Jean Wade Gayles (Editor)


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About Dr. Gloria Wade-Gayles:

Founding Director of the SIS Oral History Project

Faculty Mentor for Spelman's Independent Scholars


Gloria Wade Gayles earned a B.A. in English from LeMoyne College, an M.A. in American Literature from Boston University (as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow), and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Meadville-Lombard Theological School of the University of Chicago and named the CASE Professor of Teaching Excellence for the State of Georgia.

A recipient of the Emory Medal for outstanding scholarship and service of an alumna of Emory University, she has been a DuBois Fellow at Harvard University and Eminent Scholarís Chair at Dillard University. Other awards include the Spelman College Presidentís Award for Outstanding Scholarship, the LeMoyne-Owen DuBois Scholarís Award, and the Malcolm X Award for Community Service in the City of Atlanta for work as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement continued work for justice.

Her publications include numerous articles in national journals and six books, among them Pushed Back to Strength: A Black Womanís Journey Home; No Crystal Stair: Race and Sex in Black Womenís Novels, and ďMy Soul Is a WitnessĒ: African American Womenís Spirituality . Her most recent publications are In Praise of Teachers (Beacon Press, May 2003), and Conversations With Gwendolyn Brooks University Press of Mississippi, December 2003).

Currently, she is conducting research on a critical study of the community as savior in selected African American novels. In August 2000, she was named Eminent Scholarís Chair in Independent Scholarship and Service Learning at Spelman College. In addition to being the faculty mentor for Spelman's Independent Scholars program, she is founding director of the SIS Oral History Project and RESONANCE, a choral performance group at Spelman College.


Copyright 2004 The University of South Florida and The Africana Heritage Project. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. For more information, contact the Africana Heritage Project via e-mail.