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Marie Brown

Literary agent and publishing consultant, Marie Dutton Brown was born on October 4, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Josephine and Benson Dutton. Brown attended a Catholic elementary school and a public high school. She graduated from Germantown High School in 1958 and went on to Penn State University where she received her B.S degree in 1962.

Brown became a teacher for the Philadelphia Public School System in 1963. In 1965, as a multicultural coordinator, she helped to introduce multicultural education into the school system, which included African American history.

In 1967, Brown decided to take a different direction in her career. She took a position as a general publishing trainee at Doubleday Book Publishing in New York City, but in 1969, she married and relocated with her husband to California. There, from 1969 until 1972, Brown worked in bookstores and did freelance work. Then, she returned to New York City and to Doubleday Book Publishing as a senior editor.

Brown went on to become the Editor-In-Chief of Elan magazine in 1982 and sales manager and assistant buyer for Endicott Booksellers in 1984. At a time when publishers were no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts, Brown decided to take her expertise and open her own literary agency, Marie Brown and Associates in Harlem, New York, becoming one of the few African American agents in the book world. Her agency provided marketing, promotions and consulting along with publishing. In 1990, Brown began to concentrate on book publishing because she cherished the idea of working creatively and developmentally with the authors. Brown has represented authors Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Randall Robinson, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Susan Taylor and Van Whitfield.

Brown is on the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Cultural Center, To Be Continued Kids Theater and Frank Silvera Black Theater.

Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.003

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/8/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Schools

Germantown High School

George P. Phenix School

St. Vincent de Paul School

Washington Junior High School

Ford Green Elementary School

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Pennsylvania State University Abington Campus

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marie

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BRO40

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/4/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Literary agent, magazine editor, and book editor Marie Brown (1940 - ) opened her own literary agency, Marie Brown and Associates in Harlem, New York, becoming one of the few African American agents in the book world. Brown represented authors Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Randall Robinson, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Susan Taylor and Van Whitfield.

Employment

Gen. Louis Wagner Junior High School

Philadelphia Public Schools

Doubleday Publishing Company

Endicott Booksellers

Marie Brown Associates

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marie Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marie Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marie Brown describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes her parents' jobs during college

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes her grandparents' property ownership

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marie Brown describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marie Brown describes her parents' college education and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marie Brown describes her parents' social activities at Hampton Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marie Brown describes her early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marie Brown describes the sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her elementary school experiences in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marie Brown describes the May Day festivities at Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes her childhood activities in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marie describes her family and their move to Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marie Brown describes the assemblies at Ford Greene Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marie Brown recalls attending Nashville's St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes her early love for reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marie Brown describes her childhood activities in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marie Brown describes her neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a Girl Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marie Brown recalls attending George E. Washington Junior High School in Nashville

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her favorite music as a teenager in Nashville

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls her parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marie Brown describes Nashville's country music

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marie Brown recalls her academic experience at George E. Washington Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marie Brown recalls attending Nashville's Pearl High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes her teachers at Nashville's Pearl High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marie Brown recalls moving to Philadelphia in her late teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls adjusting at Philadelphia's Germantown High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls her decision to attend Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls her transition to college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marie Brown recalls pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls adjusting to Pennsylvania State University's campus life

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marie Brown recalls studying psychology at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marie Brown recalls teaching at General Louis Wagner Junior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marie Brown recalls working as education coordinator in Philadelphia's public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marie Brown remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marie Brown remembers the integration of Philadelphia's public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls being offered a position at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls the trainee program at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marie Brown recalls working as an editorial assistant for Loretta Barrett

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marie Brown recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marie Brown describes her work experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marie Brown recalls her husband's cartoon work and their life in Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marie Brown recalls returning to Doubleday and Company Inc. as an editor

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes the books she edited at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marie Brown explains the role of a book editor

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marie Brown describes the process of publishing a book

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marie Brown recalls working with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Doubleday and Company Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marie Brown recalls becoming editor in chief of Elan magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marie Brown recalls her unemployment after Elan magazine ceased publication

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marie Brown remembers working at New York City's Endicott Booksellers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marie Brown talks about the authors she represented as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marie Brown explains how she built her clientele as a literary agent

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marie Brown describes her lifelong friends

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marie Brown reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marie Brown shares her message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marie Brown describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marie Brown reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marie Brown narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Marie Brown recalls her experiences as a literary agent
Marie Brown recalls working with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Doubleday and Company Inc.
Transcript
It's 1983, I guess, I think--$$Um-hm.$$--we're in '83 [1983] 'cause you, you stayed there until '84 [1984].$$Um-hm.$$At the Endicott Booksellers [New York, New York] and you're having a hard time getting a job as an editor.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. So tell me about Endicott. How do you, you stay there for another year and then what happens?$$I stayed at Endicott for a year, I was, and I became assistant buyer and assistant manager. And one of my young mentees, Gerald Gladly [ph.] who was an editor at Doubleday [Doubleday and Company Inc.; Knopf Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, New York], called me and asked me if I would consider agenting one of the authors that he was taking on and that author was Randy Taraborrelli [J. Randy Taraborrelli], who has now since become, you know, a mega writer of celebrity bios. And Randy at the time was, I think, the president of the Diana Ross Fan Club or something like that. He was very young then and he was, so he wanted to do a Diana Ross fan book ['Diana: A Celebration of the Life and Career of Diana Ross,' J. Randy Taraborrelli] and Gerald wanted to publish that. And he also later did a book on the history of Motown ['Motown: Hot Wax, City Cool and Solid Gold,' J. Randy Taraborrelli]. So he needed an agent because this was in a period where now the publishers were really requiring most of the books that they acquired to be agented because so many manuscripts were being submitted because technology had changed the picture with the copying machines people could make many copies (laughter) of their manuscripts and send them to many publishers and there was a lot more submission of manuscripts happening than publishers could really handle so they found that okay, we can require that there be agents to represent these writers so at least they'll be some kind of, you know, filtering process. So I told Gerald, "Oh, well, okay," reluctantly, I will agent, you know, these manuscripts. And so I took on Randy for the first two or three, two projects. And then he wanted to switch over and write more critical kinds of books, well, where, you know, he could really get into their lives, he was no longer the fan, he was gonna really go into, you know, all of the other aspects of their lives, not just the good but the bad and the ugly. And so I felt like I couldn't represent those kinds of books, I don't know where my head was then but that was where it was and so. But eventually I started acquiring other clients because as I mentioned, you know, the publishers were requiring people to have agents so people were sending me manuscripts and I started out, you know, just representing a very few authors but I was able to do this because I had worked at Doubleday and one of the reasons that one can agent somewhat successfully is that you have editorial contacts in other houses. And by this time there had been, you know, a lot of turnover in publishing so I knew at least one person in every publishing house 'cause I had worked with them when they were editors at Doubleday, so I was able to at least have someone to submit to. And then from those people you find out others and when they move around, so that's how my business got started, you know, I would submit to the editors I knew and then subsequently meet other editors or those editors would acquire some of the authors that I was representing. And I was able to sustain myself through, you know, those tough times also doing freelance editorial work, putting together a newsletter for the National Minority Supplier Development Council which I did right here on this place, we did newsletters, we packaged books, I did books, you know, how to books on how to raise your pet, how to raise your dog, how to raise your cat, how to, you know, enter the stock market, whatever was necessary, I mean, I did it as it was, as it related to, you know, packaging and producing or selling books. And those were the early days of Marie Brown Associates [New York, New York].$During the time that you were at Doubleday [Doubleday and Company Inc.; Knopf Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, New York], I'm just stepping back a few--$$Um-hm.$$--cause I, I just thought of something. Well, I, I, I don't know, I guess, this is the question but Jackie Onassis [Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis] worked at Doubleday, didn't she?$$Um-hm.$$Was she there while you were there?$$Um-hm, yes, she was. I'm smiling because this is really a funny story. There's a lot to Jackie Onassis having been there. But when I was an editor, she came to Doubleday. And I remember clearly, looking up from my desk and seeing Jackie Onassis standing at the door with someone who was taking her around to introduce her to editors and people in other departments. And it's just, it, it was just amazing, just to see her standing there. But I stood up to go and greet her and my pocketbook was (laughter) on the floor right by my desk which I hadn't seen and I go (making sounds) (laughter) all over, what a grand introduction. I said oops, at least I didn't fall on the floor. But there, I remember that, you know, tripping, I said okay, hi, and she says, "Hi, I'm Jackie Onassis," and I said, "I know, (laughter) you know, it was so great to meet you." And then, you know, and we talked on a couple occasions about book projects. And then I left to become an agent and I had sent her a project on [HistoryMaker] Katherine Dunham, Miss Dunham's memoir and she called me to talk about it, you know, and I just really could not still believe that she was on the telephone because this was before I moved into the whole house which was another story but my office used to be right there in that little small space there and I can see myself picking up the phone, "Hi, this is Jackie Onassis," and I'm just like, I don't believe this, you know. And she called to tell me why she couldn't acquire the book, you know, because she's really couldn't convince the powers that be at Doubleday. But she told me that she remembered seeing Miss Dunham dance in Paris [France] when she was there and how important she was to her cultural development in experiencing, you know, Katherine Dunham's dance. And then she also called me about Vertamae Grosvenor [Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor] because she really wanted Verta to do this book on her life when she married Bobby Grosvenor [Robert Grosvenor], because the Grosvenors and the Auchinclosses, had been neighbors up in Hyannis Port [Massachusetts] or where ever up on the Cape [Cape Cod, Massachusetts], where ever they were raised (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Martha's Vineyard [Massachusetts].$$And she knew Bobby Grosvenor when he was a young man and she knew all the family and all of that but then when Verta married into the Grosvenor family, because he's with the Grosvenors of the National Geographic and all of that, that was just another whole experience for, you know, this family and all of that. And she would say, "Well, I just don't know why she doesn't wanna write this," I mean, she wanted to write it but she could never get around to writing it so, you know, we had several conversations. And then she was a great supporter of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center [New York, New York] which is still in existence. Budd, Budd Schulberg was one of the founders along with Fred Hudson of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center which is a, an organization that supports black arts and artists, you know, in New York [New York] through workshops, seminars, and productions. And I remember Budd saying well, we have to get together and have lunch with Jackie. And so he and Fred and I went to lunch with her and it was just a great experience and I, it was a rainy day just like this and we had lunch on a, somewhere in the 50s between Madison [Avenue] and Park [Avenue]. And then, you know, she said, okay. And then she just said, "I'm going, now, I'm going, I'm just gone take a half day with work and just jump on the bus and go home." And she, I said I could imagine those people on the (laughter) Madison Avenue bus seeing her get on the bus, you know. But, you know, she was just that way. She was just, you know, very accessible. And she, people would ask me, "Did she come to work?" I said, yeah. She, you know, she does, you know. She was serious about her editing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$$--and about her job.

Gwendolyn Mitchell

Editor and poet Gwendolyn Ann Mitchell was born December 27, 1955, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, growing up in Pittsburgh. The daughter of a teacher and a pioneering black police commander, Mitchell attended Lemington Elementary School, Westinghouse High School, and graduated from Allendale High School in 1973. Moving to Dallas, Texas, she was hired as a sales clerk and was promoted to department manager at Neiman Marcus Department Store between the years of 1977 and 1987. Mitchell earned a B.A. in political science from Penn State University in 1988 and a M.F.A. in English poetry in 1991. In 1996, She earned a certificate in arts management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Between 1989 and 1993, Mitchell worked as a lecturer in Penn State’s English and women’s studies departments, and in 1994, she became a staff assistant to Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford in Pittsburgh. She worked for Youth Enrichment Services and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts in Pittsburgh before moving to Chicago to become Editor of Third World Press in 1997. Working closely with Third World Press founder Haki Madhubuti, Mitchell manages one of the leading independent African American publishers in the nation, whose published authors include Chancellor Williams, Dudley Randall, Jacob Carruthers, Sonia Sanchez, Bakari Kitwana, Useni Eugene Perkins, Sterling Plumpp, Carolyn Rodgers, the late poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, Haki Madhubuti, and Gwendolyn Mitchell herself. Mitchell’s latest work, House of Women, reviewed by Gwendolyn Brooks, was published in 2002.

Mitchell is also the author of Veins and Rivers, and a book length poem, Ain’t I Black. She has co-edited two anthologies of creative writing. Mitchell now lives in Chicago with her son, Sankara.

Accession Number

A2003.304

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/18/2003 |and| 4/1/2004

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Lemington Elementary School

Taylor Allderdice High School

Penn State University Beaver Campus

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gwendolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

MIT03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

California, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/27/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Book editor Gwendolyn Mitchell (1955 - ) served as editor of Third World Press, where she managed one of the leading independent African American publishers in the nation. She is the author of House of Women, Veins and Rivers, and Ain’t I Black, and has co-edited two anthologies of creative writing.

Employment

Neiman Marcus

Penn State University

United States Senate

Youth Enrichment Services

Pennsylvania Council for the Arts

Third World Press

Favorite Color

Lavender

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Mitchell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about the migration of her maternal ancestors in the United States after the Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her paternal great-grandparents' employment by the Heinz family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her paternal great-grandfather and her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her parents' courtship and her father's near-death experience

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her mother's personality, education, and career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Mitchell continues to describe her mother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her father's career in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her family's religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her childhood personality and early love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her grade school years and teachers at Lemington Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recalls her experience at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her family's singing group and her early love of poetry

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recounts her family's move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's New Homestead neighborhood and the history of the black community there

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Mitchell remembers moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's New Homestead neighborhood and attending Allderdice High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about New Homestead, The Hill District, and East Liberty, the three historically black communities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her activities as a student at Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recalls singing with her sisters and the music that was popular in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Mitchell remembers her college years at Pennsylvania State University's Beaver and University Park campuses

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her career and community activities after moving to Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recounts her involvement in black student organizations in college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes returning to Pennsylvania to complete her college education

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Mitchell remembers influential figures at Penn State University including Bruce Weigl, John Balaban, and Carolyn Forche

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her marriage to Abdoulaye Harouna after completing her M.F.A. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Second slating of Gwendolyn Mitchell's interview

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her first jobs after graduating from Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her role as a staff assistant to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes United States Senator Harris Wofford

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about the "Republican Revolution" in 1994 and working for Senator Harris Wofford

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her involvement with arts organizations and her renewed focus on writing after leaving the office of Senator Harris Wofford

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Haki Madhubuti and her decision to join Third World Press as an editor

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her early days as an editor at Third World Press

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her responsibilities as an editor at Third World Press

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recalls some of her major projects as an editor at Third World Press

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes Third World Press' value for publishing poetry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about how Third World Press engages with poetry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about open submissions at Third World Press

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about the mission and future of Third World Press

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Mitchell shares her memories of Gwendolyn Brooks

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her published works

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Mitchell recites a poem from her book, "House of Women"

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about Third World Press' connection with the Institute of Positive Education and Betty Shabazz International Charter School

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Mitchell describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Mitchell reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Mitchell narrates her photographs, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Mitchell narrates her photographs, pt.2

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DATitle
Gwendolyn Mitchell remembers influential figures at Penn State University including Bruce Weigl, John Balaban, and Carolyn Forche
Gwendolyn Mitchell talks about her relationship with HistoryMaker Haki Madhubuti and her decision to join Third World Press as an editor
Transcript
Who was there? Who was teaching at, at Penn State [University, State College, Pennsylvania] when you were there? Was it--was there anyone there that really understood what you were doing or, or you found to be inspirational or, or helpful?$$Well I thought that my--I guess my advisor is a gentleman, Bruce Weigl, who I think just had a nice sensitivity to looking at different kinds of writing. I mean he was a Vietnam vet [veteran], which I don't know if that makes any difference, but I think he came looking at a cultural view of language as opposed to like this one, you know he's a white male but you know he wasn't limiting himself to that white male culture, you know. That, that I felt that the things I would say in a class or you know whatever contributions I could bring as a African American woman were validated and valued. So I, I thought that that helped. Even still in a place like Penn State, you know it's a very--it's a community that even though, you know that don't, that, that maybe does not have as many black folks. But you--we were still able to find connections and community. So he was good. I had a professor John Balaban who just was able to kind of look at a little different aspect of, you know, the kind of things I was writing. And we had visiting professors come in, like someone like Carolyn Forche who really opened my eyes on looking at language and playing with what you do on a page that, you know, you just don't have to go from the beginning to the end. You know like, you know play with it, cut it up, you know, look--you know really look closely at, at, at how you use your language and you know what--how you can turn a subject. So you know I thought I knew a little bit about writing, and I did. You know but one thing I needed to do as a student was to come back and study it. You know study [Robert] Frost, study [T. S.] Eliot and, and you know just the classics so I could have a more firm footing in the use of language and, and just, just to be sure like if whatever my voice, that I, I--my voice was mine. But also that there was a, a method behind, you know, what I put on the paper. And just a, you know so I had--maybe more purpose in writing and I think I found, you know part of my purpose in trying to help tell other's stories and to be able to tell those stories through poetry.$Now how did that happen? 'Cause you're in Pennsylvania and you know--Third World Press is in Chicago [Illinois]. I mean how, how did you end up, end up here?$$I had--I've known about Third World Press for a number of years and [HM] Haki Madhubuti even spent time in Texas for readings and different, you know, events that would be--that he would come to speak. And so I, I had an opportunity early on to, to meet him when I was working with the Harambee Festival. And you know we would correspond periodically. Had a friend who would just kind of keep us involved in what was happening in the, the general community. And so--and be- because of my, my interest as a writer, I would try to get to know like you know as many other writers that would, you know, come through the community as possible. At least--so I'd know their work. So I could, you know just see what's going on and look at what, what I had to do for my development. So when I was at Penn State [University, State College, Pennsylvania], I wrote Haki to give me a recommendation, you know, in order to get to my grad school program. And he, he just said well I'll do this, but also you know he wanted to just, you know like said, "Keep me posted on what you're doing." And I had gone to I guess a, a reading with one of my friends and he had mentioned that there was, you know some things, you know like, "Have you talked with anybody in Chicago recently?" And I said, "Well no." He said, "Well you need to, you know just, you know they're doing some good things up there now. I think they bought a new building." And I said, "Oh okay," you know so--you know this is all in the back of my mind; it's nothing that I'm thinking about coming to Chicago, 'cause Chicago's a big city. And I'm--it's cold up there, you know.$$Pittsburgh's a big city too and it's cold in Pittsburgh (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) No, not like Chicago. But I'm not sure if it was like just a, a flyer or a call-out. There was a call-out to say that there was a, you know, opening at Third World Press. And so I just--you know I, I--Haki had you know, just said, "Gwendolyn, are you interested? This might be a good opportunity for you now to use your M.F.A., you know some of the skills that you developed looking at the work you've been--even done recently, you know with the arts community. And you know, apply some of those skills here," so. And I was at a point where I really was looking at some opportunities. I mean I was in a point of transition because I said I, I--you know, I didn't have to stay in Pittsburgh even though I developed a, a new community looking at people in the arts and writers. The work I had done with the Pennsylvania Arts Council helped to solidify the founding groundwork for Kuumba Trust organization, which is now I believe a very well developed umbrella organization for arts there in the city. So you know I wanted to stay somewhat in--with my interest and looking at arts and looking at, at writing. And so coming to Chicago allowed me to do that. And also look at what I felt was important in having an African centered base for community and for work.$$So did you come and visit first before you decided to do it or what--how did you make that decision?$$I--I know what happened. While I was in Pennsylvania, still I went--I came to one of the conferences, to a writing conference. And I guess I kind of was introduced to like get into some of the stuff that was going on. That was the tip. It was coming to one of the writing conferences that--$$One of the Chicago State--?$$(Simultaneous) I guess, Chicago, yeah, that Chicago State University [Chicago, Illinois] sponsors through I guess now the Gwendolyn Brooks Center. They hosting, have hosted now I think this year maybe is fourteen. But I came to one of the early conferences, you know and that was like right at the time when I was finishing my--I had finished my M.F.A. and was looking to see what things I wanted to do. So I think that was when I made the reconnection with professor--with Haki Madhubuti and just gave him an update on, you know like where I am. And then I guess the year after when I was in the senate office, that following year I was available again, you know to, to look at, you know where is it that I wanna go with my life. But that opportunity presented itself to come to Third World Press to work in the editorial staff.