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Ward, Jerry Washington | Amistad Research Center

Name: Ward, Jerry Washington
Variant Name: Jerry Washington Ward, Jr.; Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Historical Note:

Dr. Jerry Washington Ward Jr. is a poet, essayist, literary critic, and Richard Wright scholar. Born in Washington D.C. to Jerry Washington Ward Sr. and Mary Theriot Ward, he grew up in Mississippi and has spent most of his life on the Gulf Coast. He earned his B.S. in Mathematics from Tougaloo College, Mississippi, in 1964; his M.S. from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1966; and his PhD in English in 1978 from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. He taught as an English professor at Tougaloo College from 1970-2002, serving as the English department chairman from 1979-86 and as the Lawrence Durgin Professor of Literature from 1988-2002. During this time, Ward was a part of numerous academic journals and associations, including being the chairman of the Division of Black American Literature for the Modern Language Association, a member of the Mississippi Advisory Committee for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and the Vice Chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council. In 2002, he transferred to Dillard College in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he taught as a distinguished professor of English and Africana studies until his retirement in 2012.

Ward has received national recognition for his work through awards such as the Darwin T. Turner Award of Excellence, the Public Humanities Scholar Award, the Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award, and many more. His writings focus on Richard Wright, African American higher education, and recently Hurricane Katrina. He is currently a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Author's Guild, African-American Literature and Culture Society, and the George Horton Moses Society for the Study of African American Poetry. His works in progress include "Words and Being, Reading Race Reading America" and "Richard Wright: One Reader's Responses." In his retirement, he continues to bring his passion for social justice and English literature to his blog, http://jerryward.blogspot.com/.


"Jerry Washington Ward, Jr., Dr." Who's Who Among African Americans, Gale, 2016. Biography in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K1645520713/BIC1?u=tulane&xid=0f39c060.

"Jerry Ward, Jr. Timeline." The Project on the History of Black Writing, University of Kansas, 2013, hbw.ku.edu/profile-2.

Note Author: Sohni Syed

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