Gershun Avilez is an assistant professor in English and African American studies at Yale University. He is currently working on a book that reads the cultural legacies of the Black Arts Movement. He recently received his PhD in English and African American studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Daphne A. Brooks, Professor of English and African American studies at Princeton University, is author of Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910, Jeff Buckley's Grace, and numerous articles on African American literature and culture, black feminist theory, performance studies, and popular music studies. She is also the editor of The Great Escapes: The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft and The Performing Arts volume of The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere series. Brooks is currently at work on a new book entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women and Sound Subcultures—from Minstrelsy to the New Millennium.
Tara Bynum, a recent recipient of the PhD in English from Johns Hopkins University, is currently a member of the Academy of Scholars at Towson University, where she teaches courses in African American literature. She has published work in a number of periodicals, including Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Common Place, and Callaloo.
Charles E. Cobb, Jr., an award-winning journalist, is also an editor, a curator, a news analyst, and a civil rights activist. He is author of On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail, and in 2001 he was awarded the Lillian Smith Book Award for Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights, which he co-authored with Robert P. Moses. He has lectured at such universities as Howard, Duke, Illinois, Mississippi, California (Berkeley), and Harvard, and is currently a visiting professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown. A National Emmy Award, the Forum Award, the Harry Chapin Award, and the RFK Journalism Award (First Prize) are among the honors he has received for his journalistic work.
Jean Lee Cole is an associate professor of English at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. She is author of The Literary Voices of Winnifred Eaton: Redefining Ethnicity and Authenticity and co-editor (with Charles Mitchell) of The Collected Plays of Zora Neale Hurston.
Toi Derricotte, Professor of English at the University of Pittsburg, is author of four books of poems: Tender (1997), which won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; Captivity (1998); Natural Birth (1983); and The Empress of the House of Death (1978). In 1997 W. W. Norton published her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks. She has received numerous other recognitions for her poetry, including fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1996, she and Cornelius Eady co-founded Cave Canem Foundation.
Louis Edwards is author of three novels, Ten Seconds, N, and Oscar Wilde Discovers America. His work as a novelist has garnered him a Whiting Writer's Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is also the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations [End Page 231] for Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans, which produces the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and other special events. This Lake Charles native, who graduated from Louisiana State University, resides in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Thomas Sayers Ellis, an assistant professor of writing at Sarah Lawrence College, co-founded The Dark Room Collective (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) and received the MFA from Brown University. A recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, he is author of two volumes of poems: The Maverick Room (2005), winner of the John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and Skin, Inc. (2010). His poems and photographs have appeared in a number of periodicals, including Grand Street, Tin House, Poetry, The Nation, and Callaloo. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Matthew J. Forss has been writing "ethnic music" and cultural book reviews for InsideWorldMusic.com and, over the past ten years, numerous magazines and journals, including African Studies Quarterly, Inside World Music, Transoxiana: Journal Libre de Estudios Orientales, British Scholar, Asia Journal of Global Studies, and Ethnomusicology. He holds an MFA in creating writing from Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont). He lives in Wisconsin.