(Augusta, GA) –Four Paine College English majors, within the School of Arts and Sciences, recently presented parts of their major field papers at the 30th Annual Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) Conference held in March at Howard University in Washington D.C. The group of students included Artis Collins, Jameelah T. Jones, Michael A. Jones, and Jasmine Proctor. Dr. Catherine Adams, who teaches the English research project course this semester, served as the moderator for the Paine student panel.
Artis Collins discussed the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass as an "ancestral" text to the Autobiography of Malcolm X. His presentation paid special attention to themes such as access to literacy, the absence of fathers, and the definitions of freedom within the two texts.
Jameelah T. Jones examined Georgia as a literary landscape in selected works by Frank Yerby. Her excavation of Yerby's protest stories and her re-examination of latent protest themes in two Yerby novels convinced conference attendees that Yerby is worthy of new consideration.
Michael A. Jones discussed his expansion of the critical work of Toni Morrison in terms of examining the fate of protagonists in Africana literature by understanding the presence and usefulness of the elders/ancestor figure. His research will include several novels – one of which is Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man upon which he focused at the conference.
Jasmine Proctor re-examined autobiographical works by Pauli Murray looking for references and resonances of elder and ancestral wisdom that arguably shaped her activism in legal and religious studies. Proctor's research is looking closely at Murray's grandfather as a pivotal figure who was well acquainted with Jim Crow and who passed on to his granddaughter a lens for her understanding of "Jane Crow"--a phrase coined by Murray.
"This experience has been so rich,” said Michael Jones, “To sit at the feet of the scholars and exemplars of the day was such a humbling experience for me. For them to count my work worthy of review helped me further realize that as a young, emerging scholar I have a greater responsibility."
During their stay in Washington DC, students were able to visit historical sites such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument and the Frederick Douglass House.
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Photo caption: Paine College students Michael A. Jones, Jameelah T. Jones, Artis Collins, and Jasmine Proctor, accompanied by Dr. Catherine Adams, Assistant Professor of English.