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John Edgar Tidwell

Living With Saints, Book Cover

Black Moods Cover





  John Edgar Tidwell is professor of English at the University of Kansas.  Among his several courses, he teaches survey classes in American and African American literatures; major author courses in Gordon Parks, Sterling Brown, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston; and an introduction to the study of fiction.  Coinciding with his teaching, his areas of research are American and African American literatures.  He has published six books and a considerable number of essays, book reviews, literary dictionary entries, interviews, and a bibliography.  For the Kansas Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau, he has presented “Against the Odds: Writers Growing up Black in Kansas” and “Gordon Parks’s Learning Tree Experience.”  Recently, he joined the KHC Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program, conducting discussions thus far in the African American Experience series.  In 2001-2002, he served as Project Director for “Reading and Remembering Langston Hughes,” funded, in part, by the Kansas Humanities Council.  Prior to that, he was a Resident Scholar for KHC’s "Crossing Boundaries/Making Connections: African American and American Culture" program, in Spring 1996.  He was born and reared in Independence, Kansas.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  

Books Edited:

Book Chapters and Editorial Work:

  • "The Sounds of Silence: Langston Hughes as a 'Down Low' Brother?" In Montage of a Dream: The Art and Life of Langston Hughes (Eds. John Edgar Tidwell and Cheryl Ragar; University of Missouri Press, 2007)
  • "Gordon Parks and the Unending Quest for Self-fulfillment" in John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History. (Ed. Virgil Dean, University Press of Kansas, 2006. 293-305)
  • "Sterling A. Brown." Online essay.
  • "Frank Marshall Davis." Online essay.
  • "Frank Marshall Davis and the Cultural Life of Black Chicago." Under consideration for Proceedings of the Hull House Conference.
  • “Fierce Listening: Sterling A. Brown, Benjamin A. Botkin and Folk-Say.” Under consideration for Proceedings of Benjamin A. Botkin Conference.
  • (editor and contributor), “Plateaus of Uncertainty: Symposia on Legacies and the Future of the Race.” My essay “Coming of Age in a Land of Uncertainty” and audience responses to it appear in Cottonwood 56 (Fall 2000): 43–59.
  • (with Robert Hemenway, Valdinia Winn, and Carmaletta M. Williams) “The Legacy of the Harlem Renaissance: A Symposium,” Cottonwood 57 (Spring 2001): 45–61.
  • (compiler and contributor), “The Future of the Race: A Symposium,” Kansas English 85.1 (Spring 2000): 69–82.
  • (compiler and, with Cheryl Lester, co-introducer), "Frank Marshall Davis and the Chicago Black Renaissance," special issue of The Langston Hughes Review 14. 1 & 2 (Spring / Fall 1996).

Published Work Continued...

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Writing Samples  

In my mind, the appearance at this time of Black Moods: Collected Poems is fortuitous. Since we have barely crossed over into the twenty-first century, bringing with us the baggage of debates about the (de)merits of racial and cultural diversity and the continuing contentiousnes about the politics of art, Davis's voice has renewed importance. This collection's emergence coincides with the development of new critical and theoretical approaches capable of offering fresh interpretations of Davis's work.

---Introduction From Black Moods

In Davis's abscence, I have made every effort to determine and follow his intentions for a final draft, using the retyped version of the manuscript as authority for Davis's wishes. The guiding editorial principle I've followed in this text is to step out of the way and allow the voice of Davis to speak unimpeded.

---Introduction From Livin' The Blues

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Honors and Awards

  • Humanities Research Fellowship, Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas, Spring 2006
  • Sabbatical, University of Kansas, Fall 2005
  • University of Kansas, General Research Funds, summers 2000, 2001, and 2002
  • Scholar-in-Residence, Johnson County Community College, Kansas City, KS, February 17–19, 1999
  • Faculty Improvement Leave, Miami University, Fall 1997.
  • Alumni Fellows Program, Washburn University, October 22-24, 1994.
  • Alumni of Notable Achievement, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, selected June 1994.
  • Langston Hughes Visiting Professor of English and of African and African American Studies, University of Kansas, Spring Semester 1994.
  • Visiting Scholar in English and in Ethnic Minority Studies, Kansas State University, 15-19 March 1993.
  • NEH Summer Stipend, awarded March 1993.
  • Miami University, Grant for Research Graduate Assistant, for 1993-1994.
  • NEH Travel to Collections Grant, awarded December 1992.
  • Miami University, Assigned Research Appointment, Fall 1990.
  • Miami University, Summer Research Appointment, 1988.
  • NEH Fellowship for Independent Study and Research, 1985-1986.
  • NEH Summer Stipend, 1985 (refused).
  • NEH Travel to Collections Fellowship, awarded December 1983.
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, Fall 1982.
  • University of Kentucky Summer Faculty Research Fellowship, 1981, 1982, and 1983.
  • National Fellowships Fund Award, 1978-1981 (for dissertation work).
  • Jessamine Allen Dissertation Fund Award, University of Minnesota, Fall 1980.
  • Putnam Dana McMillan Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Summer 1979.
  • American Lutheran Church Future Faculty Fellowship, 1975-1977
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