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.  Founder and editor (1985-1993) of the Beacon Press African-American Women Writers Series. Received the Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award from the UVA Maxine Platzer Women’s Center, 2018.


The Changing Same: Studies in Fiction by Black Women. Bloomington: 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 [2 short novels].  New Brunswick:  Rutgers University Press, 1986.


Slavery and the Literary Imagination.  Johns Hopkins, 1988.


Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader.  New York: Routledge, 1993.