Trudier Harris is University Distinguished Research Professor, Department of English, University of Alabama, and formerly the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she retired in July of 2009. There she taught courses in African American literature and folklore at undergraduate and graduate levels. In her thirty-six years of full-time teaching, she also served on the faculties of The College of William and Mary and Emory University.
In addition to lecturing throughout the United States and in Jamaica, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, England, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, she has written and edited twenty-four volumes, including The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller’s Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan (1996), Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature (2001), and South of Tradition: Essays on African American Literature (2002). She co-edited three volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series on African American writers, edited three additional volumes, and edited four anthologies. Her memoir, Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South, appeared from Beacon Press in 2003 and was chosen by the Orange County (NC) Commission on Human Relations to inaugurate its One-Book, One-Community Reading Program for 2003-2004. In 2009, she published The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South (LSU Press). Choice designated it one of the “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2009 in its “best of the best” listings. It also won The College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award for 2010. Her most recent book, Martin Luther King Jr., Heroism, and African American Literature, appeared from the University of Alabama Press in 2014.
Her awards include the William C. Friday/Class of 1986 Award for Excellence in Teaching (2000), the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar (2002), the UNC System Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005), the John Hurt Fisher Award of the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English (2005), and the inaugural George H. Johnson Prize for Distinguished Achievement by an Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellow at UNC (2008).
During 1996-97, she was a resident fellow at the National Humanities Center. She served as Faculty Director of an Honors Study Abroad Seminar in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2006. In 2003, she was appointed Faculty Marshal at UNC and served in that capacity until her retirement.
(photo by Dan Sears-University of North Carolina News Service)