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Home | EducationMakers | Daryl Cumber Dance
Color: Blue
Food: Seafood
Quote: She Who Laughs, Lasts.
Season: All 4 Seasons
Vacation Destination: Many Different Places
Richmond, Virginia United States
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 12/7/2016

English professor Daryl Cumber Dance was born on January 17, 1938, in Richmond, Virginia, to elementary school teacher Veronica Bell Cumber, and joiner and entrepreneur Allen Cumber. Dance graduated from Ruthville High School, in Ruthville, Virginia. She went on to earn both her A.B. degree in English in 1957, and her M.A. degree in English in 1963 from Virginia State College, now Virginia State University. She continued her studies, earning her Ph.D. degree in English in 1971, from the University of Virginia.

Dance’s first teaching position came in 1957, when she became an English teacher at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. She remained at Armstrong for five years, until she returned to her alma mater, Virginia State College, as an instructor of English in 1962. After completing her Ph.D. work in 1971, Dance returned to Virginia State College for one year, as an assistant professor of English. She left in 1972, joining the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University, also as an assistant professor of English, until she was promoted to associate professor of English in 1978, and full professor in 1985. Between 1983 and 1984, Dance also served as the acting coordinator of the Afro-American Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1993, she joined the faculty of the University of Richmond as a full professor of English. She was named the Sterling A. Brown Professor of English at Howard University in 2013. Dance has been the Jessie Ball duPont Visiting Scholar at the University of Richmond, as well as the visiting professor of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Dance has authored nine books and contributed to many others, including Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans (1978), Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical and Critical Sourcebook (1986), Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor (1998), and From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore (2002). Dance has also served on several boards and committees, including the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the Editorial Board of Encyclopedia Virginia, the University Press of Virginia Board of Directors, and the Curriculum Committee of the College Language Association; in addition to being a member of the American Folklore Society, the American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, the Zora Neale Hurston Society, the Richard Wright Society, and the Virginia Folklore Society.

She has received numerous awards for her work, including the VCU Arts and Sciences Lecturer Award, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education's Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, the Sister Circle Book Award for Outstanding Anthology, the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers Annual Conference, and The Sojourner Truth Award from The African American Studies Program of George Mason University. The Daryl Cumber Dance Lifetime Achievement Award was inaugurated in 2012 by the College Language Association in Dance’s honor.

Dance lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Daryl Cumber Dance was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 7, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: