Academic Historian

Wilfred D. Samuels received his B.A. degree in English and Black Studies from the University of California at Riverside; and he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies and African American Studies from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Samuels is currently an associate professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah, and the former director of its African American Studies Program and Coordinator of the Ethnic Studies Program. In addition to holding Visiting Professorships at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Samuels has also taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Prairie View A & M University in Texas.  He has lectured in England, Africa, Japan, and throughout Southeast Asia.  He is the founding president of the African American Literature and Culture Society, which he headed for six years.

Dr. Samuels is a well published scholar who has written on the 18th century slave narrative of Olaudah Equiano and on several twentieth century African American writers, including Claude McKay, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and John Edgar Wideman.  His Encyclopedia of African American Literature (New York: Facts on File, 2007) was published this summer.

A former Ford Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Samuels is the recipient of several awards including the University of Utah’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the College of Humanity’s Ramona Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence.

Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson (1877-1966)

Poet, lyricist, short story writer, and playwright Georgia Douglas Johnson was born to George and Laura Douglas Camp in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 10, 1877.  Johnson graduated from Atlanta University in 1896, attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1902, and married Henry Lincoln Johnson, a … Read MoreGeorgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson (1877-1966)

Richard Bruce Nugent (1906-1987)

Richard Bruce Nugent (also Bruce Nugent), artist, writer, actor, dancer, dilettante, and bohemian of 1920s Harlem, was born to middle class Washington, D.C. socialites Richard Henry Nugent and Pauline Minerva Bruce Nugent. His father was a Pullman porter; his mother a pianist. Nugent attended Washington, … Read MoreRichard Bruce Nugent (1906-1987)

John Oliver Killens (1916-1987)

Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, John Oliver Killens was an editor, essayist, activist, critic and novelist who inspired a generation of African American writers through his Harlem Writers Guild. He inspired such literary artists as Rosa Guy, Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis and Audrey Lorde. … Read MoreJohn Oliver Killens (1916-1987)

Chloe Anthony Wofford “Toni” Morrison (1931-2019)

Born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio to parents George and Ella Ramah Wofford, novelist Toni Morrison grew up in a working-class family.  She received a B.A. from Howard University after majoring in English and minoring in the classics.  Wofford earned … Read MoreChloe Anthony Wofford “Toni” Morrison (1931-2019)