Author; University professor of literature. Born– Bessemer, 1951. Parents– Wiley and Jimmye Ziegler McDowell. Education–Tuskegee Institute, B.A., 1972; Purdue University. M.A., 1974; Ph. D., 1979. Professor of English at Colby College, 1979-87; at the University of Virginia, 1987-. Director of the Carter G. Woodson Center for African American and African Studies at UVA, 2008- . Appointed Alice Griffin Professor of English, 2000.
The Changing Same: Studies in Fiction by Black Women. Indiana University Press, 1995.
Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin. Scribner, 1996.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Oxford University Press, 1999.
Fauset, Jessie. Plum Bun. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.
Hopkins, Pauline. Of One Blood. Simon and Shuster, 2004.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Moses, Man of the Mountain. New York: Harper and Row, 1990.
Kelley, Emma Dunham. Four Girls at Cottage City. Oxford University Press, 1988.
Larsen, Nella. Quicksand and Passing. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1986.
Slavery and the Literary Imagination. Johns Hopkins, 1988.
Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 1993.