The West Virginia University Press has been invited to write six articles for the African American National Biography (AANB).

The AANB is a joint project of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and Oxford University Press under the editorship of Professors Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham.

The project, once completed, will include over 10,000 African American histories, serving as a reference for scholars and ensuring that these histories are saved for posterity.

The Press and the University are excited to be participating in this worthwhile and notable project,said Patrick Conner, director of the WVU Press.The WVU Press has a long tradition of supporting and studying African American Issues in West Virginia .

In recent years, the Press has released several books focusing on the region as well as the African American workers that have sometimes been forgotten in scholarly work, including: Transnational West Virginia: Ethnic Communities and Economic Change, 1840-1940 , with a chapter onBlack Migration to Southern West Virginiaby Joe William Trotter, Jr.; Early Art and Artists in West Virginia , containing paintings by black artists; and Work and Pray, Historic Negro Spirituals and Work Songs from West Virginia . C urrently in production is John L. Handcox: Songs, Poems, and Stories of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union .

The Press was invited by AANB to write about Cortez Reece, Richard Lonsdale Brown, Joseph Eldridge Dodd, John B. Bailey, Harry Freeman and John L. Handcox, all of whom appearor will soon appearin Press publications.

Dr. Cortez Reece is best known for his recordings of African American spirituals and work songs on Work and Pray , a WVU Press CD of his field recordings.

Richard Lonsdale Brown, Joseph Eldridge Dodd, John B. Bailey, and Harry Freeman are African American artists featured in John Cuthbert’s Early Art and Artists in West Virginia, also published by the WVU Press .

The Press is currently producing a CD of John L. Handcox’s labor union songs, as well as an interview with him, to be released in early December.

Kim Malinowski, an English major currently working at the WVU Press , has been approved by the editors of the AANB to draft the entries.

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