We are pleased to announce Dr. Brenda M. Greene, the foremost literary scholar, activist, essayist and analyst, is a new columnist for Our Time Press.
Dr. Greene’s new monthly column Hear Our Voices will feature book reviews, essays, literary programs, and critical issues related to books, literature, writing, and the publishing industry from her award-winning perspective.
A native Brooklyn resident, Dr. Greene is an educational leader, author, and radio host at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Her professional accomplishments span over four decades and are characterized by high expectations, public service, and achievement. She is dedicated to working in and building cultural arts institutions that are committed to progressing Black life in Brooklyn and beyond. She also is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature, the Director of the National Black Writers Conference, and the former long-time Chair of Medgar Evers College’s English Department.
Prior to Medgar Evers College, Dr. Greene worked as an educator in the New York City Public School system and with civic and political organizations to enrich and engage the community-at-large. Since 2004, she has served as a radio host on the long-running weekly program, Writers on Writing, heard in the New York Tri-State area on WNYE, 91.5 FM. The program connects listeners to some of today’s most accomplished writers and features writers of the African Diaspora discussing their lives, their creative process, and their work (novels, poems, plays, nonfiction, and more).
Her research and scholarly work include African American literature, multicultural literature, and English Studies, and more. During her tenure at Medgar Evers, she taught an array of courses in composition and literature and held many administrative and academic leadership positions within the College and the City University of New York. Dr. Greene is currently a commissioner on the CUNY Commission on Black, Race and Ethnic Studies and an inaugural member of the NYC Black Studies Commission.
Dr. Greene is also the former Board Chair of the Nkiru Center for Education and Culture, Inc. co-founded by hip hop icons Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli.
The Hear Our Voices column in Our Time Press is particularly timely given this moment in our nation. We have lost loved ones, friends, and colleagues as a result of a global pandemic. We have been subjected to a racial pandemic that has intensified as evidenced by a rise in white supremacy and vitriol rhetoric that have spurred increased violence in our streets and the murder of Black and Brown men, our women, our youth, and our children.
Our nation and the world’s disregard for climate control and our failure to protect our environment have resulted in more natural disasters than ever. Our policies on immigration have harmed thousands of immigrants who live with the constant fear of deportation. The nation’s democratic values have eroded, taking us back to a time of those acts that occurred during the post-reconstruction and pre-civil rights era in our nation.
These issues speak to the question: Where do we go from here? How do we survive racism, discrimination, and the destruction of Black and Brown bodies? How do we enrich and provide our youth with an accurate understanding of their history in this country? How do we sustain ourselves, spiritually and emotionally?
“Our writers and scholars, through their stories, poetry, and essays, provide us with a deeper understanding of our collective experiences, raise critical issues, advocate calls for action, and provide pathways for persevering and surviving in a very troubled nation,” Dr. Greene shared with us last week.
“Books and the literary arts offer a balm for healing. Reading helps us to understand the complexities of our life experiences. The scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin in her book Read Until You Understand reminds us of how her father’s word, ‘read until you understand’ helped her to love the majestic power of words and the magnificence of Black life.
“Hear Our Voices will bring to the public, our community, and Our Time Press readers, the voices and texts of fiction writers, playwrights, screenwriters, poets, scholars, essayists, activists, griots, and educators who have used their voices, programs, and platforms across multiple genres to document the experiences of Black people, to offer alternative and broader narratives of the Black experience, to lay the groundwork for both healing and activism, and to chart a course for moving forward.”
Powered by the mission of teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Greene has forged long-standing friendships and collaborations with many supportive individuals, including Dr. Jelani Cobb, Edwidge Danticat, Danny Glover, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Marita Golden, Jamal Joseph, Woodie King Jr., Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Dominique Morisseau, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ishmael Reed, Dr. Sonia Sanchez, Susan Taylor, Tracy K. Smith, Dr. Cornel West, Jacqueline Woodson, Colson Whitehead, elected officials throughout New York, and many others. With the Hear Our Voices column, Dr. Greene brings to the Our Time Press reader all of these associations.
Similarly, her strategic partnerships with institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Third World Press, the New-York Historical Society, African Voices, the Brooklyn Literary Council, the Center for Fiction, and the Adelaide Sanford Institute have resulted in progressive programs and initiatives throughout the decades. The community will be empowered and intellectually enriched by new knowledge Dr. Greene will share on the little-publicized roles these great entities have played in the life of the community for decades.
In summing up her motivation for taking on this important new task at Our Time Press, Dr. Greene told us, “I have always appreciated and valued the power of the literary, visual, and cultural arts to transform our individual lives and the lives of people in our community.”
The publisher and editors of Our Time Press believe Dr. Greene’s presence in Our Time Press will provide an historic opportunity for us. We, too, will be transformed.