As writers and educators who have participated in literary programs at Medgar Evers College, we have viewed from afar its situation with deep concern. Medgar Evers College has long been known for its tradition and legacy of providing an educational and cultural haven for the preservation, study and celebration of the heritage, arts and traditions of Black people throughout our country and the world. Those who find it necessary to advocate on behalf of preserving this legacy and mission have the right to do so. The practice of active engagement in a cause based on one’s principles is to be celebrated not denigrated. This practice of activism forms the bedrock of our institutions of higher education.
Professor Ragland’s insinuation in the Amsterdam News that this struggle to maintain the mission and integrity of Medgar Evers College is all about Dr. Greene’ s teaching schedule is bizarre to say the least. Dr. Greene’s work as the founder of the Center for Black Literature, as the Director of the National Black Writers Conference and as an educator who has demonstrated her professional commitment to Medgar Evers College and the community throughout her career is well documented. The critical issues of leadership which have been cited by the many involved in the struggle to preserve Medgar Evers College’s mission are broad and demand attention
There must be a resolution to this situation. Medgar Wiley Evers died advocating for the civil rights of Black citizens throughout this country. The mission of a college named in honor of his legacy and founded on the principles of activism and engagement must be preserved. We commend the broad constituency of educators, students, clergy, elected officials and community citizens from across the city of New York for their courage, conviction, commitment, tenacity and willingness to advocate for a resolution to the events and actions which have negatively impacted on a College built on a foundation and tradition grounded in the struggle for social justice. This is democracy in action and should be respected.
Amiri Baraka, Writer/ Activist/ Prof. Emeritus, SUNY Stonybrook, N Y
Marita Golden, Writer
Haki Madhubuti, Poet/ the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Professor at DePaul University and Founder &Publisher of Third World Press
Kevin Powell, Activist/ Writer
Ishmael Reed, Writer/ Prof. Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Quincy Troupe, Poet/ Writer, Editor, Black Renaissance Noir
Sonia Sanchez, Poet/Writer/Activist/ Professor Emeritus, Temple University
Danny Simmons, Artist/ Writer, Chairman RUSH Philanthropic Foundation, NYSCA Chairman, Crown Heights Resident
Cornel West, University Professor, Princeton University
John Edgar Wideman, Writer/ ASA Messer Professor, Africana Studies and Literary Arts, Brown University