African American Scholars And Educators Convene In Spartanburg For College Language Association Annual Convention

March 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Spartanburg, S.C.
– Nearly 250 African American scholars and educators will convene in Spartanburg when the University of South Carolina Upstate hosts the annual convention of the College Language Association (CLA) April 6-9. The theme for 2011 convention is “Narrativity and Musicality: A Confluence of Language, Literature, and Culture.”

Dr. Warren Carson is associate vice-chancellor for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at USC Upstate and also serves as president of the CLA. Given the theme of this year’s convention, Carson sees Spartanburg as a natural fit for the host site.

“With the Spartanburg Music Trail, many are now learning of the rich musical history of Spartanburg, but many perhaps do not know of the role that Spartanburg has played in the literary production of African Americans,” said Carson. “Black writers like Jean Toomer and Charles W. Chesnutt both had a presence in Spartanburg, and Charles Johnson set his novel Oxherding Tale partially in Spartanburg. There is so much more for us to explore and uncover.”

USC Upstate will welcome members of the CLA with a campus reception on Thursday, April 7 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Campus Life Center Ballroom. The annual banquet will be held on Friday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Spartanburg Marriott at Renaissance Park, where poet and playwright Cornelius Eady will be the keynote speaker.

Eady is the author of seven poetry collections, including The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. A play, Running Man, was a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for drama. His poetry often centers around jazz and blues and is praised for its simple and approachable language. Eady will deliver a reading of selected works at the Authors @ Upstate Visiting Writers Series in the J M Smith Boardroom at USC Upstate on Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow the reading.

Members of the Langston Hughes Society (LHS) will also be in attendance at the Convention as the LHS is an affiliate organization of the CLA along with the Zora Neale Hurston Society, The Alice Childress Society, The Charles Chesnutt Society, and the Richard Wright Circle.  These smaller allied groups are devoted to close study of significant African American writers.

For more information, contact Dr. Warren Carson at (864) 503-5634 or or visit

 About The College Language Association

The College Language Association, founded in 1937 by a group of Black scholars and educators, is an organization of college teachers of English and foreign languages which serves the academic, scholarly and professional interests of its members and the collegiate communities they represent. Since 1957, the Association has published the peer-reviewed CLA Journal, a quarterly featuring scholarly research and reviews of books in the areas of language, literature, linguistics and pedagogy.

The College Language Association:

-Fosters high professional standards for teachers of language and literature and promotes productive scholarship among its members;
-Publishes scholarly books of critical essays and bibliographical references;
-Encourages interest in creative writing;
-Holds an annual convention for presentation of scholarly papers, exchange of ideas with other colleagues, and dialogue with specialists brought in by the Association;
-Maintains a Placement Directory for its members.