Where Would We Be?: Legacies, Roll Calls, and the Teaching of Writing in HBCUs (2021)


personal narrative, HBCUs, cultural rhetoric


In their article “We are Family: I Got All My (HBCU) Sisters with Me” in the 2016 “Where We Are: Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Writing Programs” section of Composition Studies, Hope Jackson and Karen Keaton Jackson state, “It is our hope that the HBCU experience will one day be fully integrated in composition studies . . . without the designation of ‘special issue’” (157). While their article focused on writing center studies, their call echoes that of Jacqueline Jones Royster and Jean C. Williams in “History in the Spaces Left: African American Presence and Narratives of Composition Studies.” Royster and Williams call out composition and rhetoric’s sanctioned historical narratives that ignored the role of African American contributions to the field, especially those from HBCUs (572). Keith Gilyard, in the same 1999 issue of CCC that the Royster and Williams article appears, ends his essay by suggesting “…there never was a time when we failed to contribute to the field in some way. We may not have always been in the house of mainstream composition studies, but we were always knocking on the door” (642). Royster and Williams and Gilyard do the work of documenting intergenerational exchanges of African Americans in composition studies in their 1999 articles, providing evidence of Gilyard’s assertion that, yes, we have always been contributing to the field even when it has gone unnoticed.

Citation Information

Type of Source: Journal Article

Author: Beverly Moss

Year of Publication: 2021

Title: Where Would We Be?: Legacies, Roll Calls, and the Teaching of Writing in HBCUs”

Publication: comp Studies 49(1)