Carolivia Herron : Author and Educator

 Carolivia as Author

Peacesong DC front cover
Peacesong DC front cover

Carolivia’s latest book, Peacesong DC went to press on her 69th birthday, July 22, 2016. Peacesong DC consists of fictionalized autobiographical chapters extracted and emended from Carolivia Herron’s longer work, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair. In order to highlight the Washington DC aspect of the author’s identity.

In Peacesong DC Carolivia’s persona, Shirah Shulamit Ojero has four loves, her African American culture, her Jewish heritage, academic study — especially the study of literary epics — and her city, Washington, DC. Peacesong DC displays the interconnection of these four loves as Shirah grows up in the Washington DC neighborhoods of Mayfair Mansions, Kenilworth, Anacostia, Takoma DC. and downtown.

Peacesong DC goes on sale as a print book and as an electronic book on August 1, 2016.  Please subscribe to the weekly Carolivia newsletter on the home page to receive publication notification.

Illustration from Nappy Hair, ClassroomBest known for her children’s book, Nappy Hair, Carolivia is a novelist, professor, scholar of epic literature, and publisher at Street to Street Epic Publications.

Her most recent novel, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, celebrates four of her great loves: her hometown Washington, DC, her African American Culture, her Jewish heritage, and the inspiration of the epic literary genre from the streets to the academy.

Her first novel, Thereafter Johnnie (1991), was recently identified as one of five hidden pearls of African American literature.  Her other writings include: Always an Olivia, her autobiographic tale of Jewish and African ancestry; the libretto of Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson (composer Bruce Adolphe); Little Georgia and the Apples; and the Selected Poetry of Angelina Weld Grimke.

Carolivia grew up in the Mayfair and Kenilworth neighborhoods of Washington, DC, and moved to the Takoma neighborhood of Washington with her family in the 1960s. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, studied at Howard University with fellow student, Stokely Carmichael, an architect of the Black Power Movement, and is descended from runaway Virginia slaves, Sephardic Jewish exiles, and the Wampanoag Nation.

Carolivia as Educator

Carolivia Herron in Debate at Arizona State University in 2012
Carolivia Herron in 2012 at Arizona State University, Project Humanities Debate, “Is Truth Overrated?”

While teaching at Harvard University in 1988, she became the first professor in the United States to teach a course in hip hop, and is known for her presentations that connect hip hop with Homeric epic tradition.

Her doctorate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory is from the University of Pennsylvania, and she teaches classes in epic poetry in universities, online and in person for home schooled youth . . . and for anyone else who will listen!!!

It’s clear that Carolivia can’t finish an academic degree unless she is somewhere in Pennsylvania. The BA she started at Howard University in Washington, DC was completed at Eastern University of St. Davids, Pennsylvania. The MA she started at American University was completed at Villanova. And the Ph.D. she started at Catholic University was completed at the University of Pennsylvania.

Works, World, and Ways of Carolivia Herron