J. Lee Greene: man of
Dr. J. l^ee (ireene
Staff photo by James Parker.
Besides producing “Down Home” and
“Great Jones Street,” two stage per
formances, and making English 84,
American Negro literature, one of the
most popular courses at UNC, Dr. J. Lee
Greene, associate professor of English,
has also written a book, “Time’s Unfading
The 1977 edition, published by the
Louisiana State University Press, is about
the life and poetry of Anne Spencer, a
Black American poet frmi 1882-1975.
“Anne Spencer was associated with
some of the most prominent Black figures
in the 1920s and on up to the ’60s,” says
Greene. “She was a close friend of people
such as Langston Hughes, James Weldon
Johnson, and W.E.B. DuBois. The book
deals with the whole experience of being
Black by lodung at one person.”
Greene met Spencer at her home in
Lynchburg, Va., after he chose her as a
subject for his master’s thesis.
“I knew her when she was 89 years old
and until the time she died,” Greene said.
“She was one of the most brilliant persons
I had ever met. She was never senile and
was very independent.
“I wanted to write about her because not
much had been done on her before. She
was a very private woman and didn’t want
people writing about her because she was
afraid they would distort the truth about
her. Anyway, she was kind enough to let
me write about her.”
Greene had no severe problems in
writing the book. He collected the material
from 1972 to 1975. Spencer died before the
book was published, but she did read some
of the manuscript.
“There were certain kinds of in
formation that I wanted to use and was
unable to, like the history of her cincestry,”
Greene said, “but there was so much more
interesting information I could use. Very
few people in the town would talk about her
to me. Some said she was an agitator
because she fought discrimination. She
was one of those persons who would refuse
to sit at the back of the bus.”
The reviews, appearing in “Americn
Literature,” “Black American
Literature” and other magazines, have
been favorable. Greene relates Spencer’s
life with her work. She wrote about love
and freedom that surpassed the era in
whidi she lived. Because the book is
scholarly, Greene feels it will not be a best
Appended to the book are 42 of Spencer’s
poems. Greene’s favorite poem, “White
Things,” is about the glorification of the
Although his book applies to some of the
subjects covered in his English 84 classes,
Greene does not plan to use it as a text.
Not only a curriculum^ but a fact of life
By JOYCE BASS-EDWARDS
While the University of North Carolina
has numerous departments within its
academic system, there is a major offered
to students yearly through a curriculum
rather than a department.
The Afro-American Studies Curriculum
was initiated on tne UNC campus in 1969
by the late Dr. James Brewer, who was
also its first director. This Spring 1979, the
Afro-Am curriculum will celet>rate its
tenth year on the campus as a
“curriculum” rather than as a stable
According to the Afro-Am co-directors.
Dr. Sonya Stone and Dr. Roberta Dunbnr,
only students can make the hope ot
departmental status come true.
“We encourage double majors in this
curriculum. We feel that Afro-Am studies
compliments any field of study, par
ticularly for those who will spend their
lives serving the black community.
Students may have majors in Political
Science, Ra^o, Television and Motion
Pictures, as well as History,” said Dr.
Dr. Dunbar said attracting more
students to the program is one objective
for the immediate future.
“Because we have two cwnponent parts,
African Studies and Afro-American
Studies, our objective is to use the
resources we have to their fullest poten
tial,’’ said Dr. Dunbar.
She said the curriculum staff tries to
provide courses which will expose students
at an introductory level with emphasis on
special interest and the problems in the
“The African studies courses we have
are not found elsewhere on this campus.
We want our humanity courses in
stitutionalized so they will no longer be
just seminars,” said Dr. Dunbar.
Students who declare themselves Afro-
Am nuijors enroll into the program which
has six to eight core courses designed to
introduce students to basic African
Culture. Through its interdisciplinary
curriculum, the Afro-Am student may take
such courses as Black Literature, Foun
dations of Black Education, Anthropology,
Psychology, History and the Black Press.
As a junior and senior, the student is
involved in seminars, which are designed
to let the student work closely with his
major professor and acquire research
skills as well as a certain professionalism.
This part of the program falls under the
direction of Dr. Carolyn Stroman, who
joined the staff in September of 1978.
"The senior internship allows the
student to work in the conununity. By
giving service to the Black community, the
student gets a first hand lock at the real
work worid,” said Dr. Stroman.
She said the internship assignments are
made according to the interest d the
student. She too agrees with the idea of
combining the Afro-Am major with
another academic area.
“Right now we have four students in the
community as interns. In the future we
hope all Afro-Am students, regardless of
classification will be able to get out into the
field and experience the real woric routine
of their chosen field,” said Dr. Stroman.
Despite the advances in course offerings
within the curriculum, there are still
problems which began with the initial
founding of the curriculum which have yet
to be solved according to Dr. Dunbar.
“We’re still in a period of transition. We
saw what students focused on in 1969 and
what Dr. Brewer tried to do. Some of the
priorities set then have not been met such
as support services for blacks and the
increa^ recruitment of tilacks. Some
attention has been given to these areas,
but not enough to erase insecruties,” said
All three professors agree that the
departmental status of the program would
be one of their greatest achievements.
“We would be strengthened by the
departmental status. Because we are an
indisciplinary program, we depend
heavily on faculty from other depart
ments. Most programs across the country
are departments. They afford autonomy
and integrity,” said Dr. Stone.
Dr. Dunbar agrees with Dr. Stone about
consistent faculty within the curriculum
and its influence on the students.
"The biggest frustration has been
consistent and irregular staffing. We only
have one year appointments, which we
used to know about only one month in
advance. We then had to devise our course
(rfferings. Now, we know one year in ad
vance which has greatly eased some of
that pressure,” said Dr. Dunbar.
Another aspect of the program which
influences student enrollment is the
prospect of employment following
graduation from the curriculum.
“Many students (undergraduates) feel
pressure from all over the United States
about what they will do after graduation.
These are not just liberal arts students, but
professional school students as well," said
Dr. Stone feels that an Afro-Am major
can choose practically any career.
“No liberal arts degree leads to a job.
We’ve found that Afro-Am majors are
considered good prospects for em
ployment in school systems, social
agencies, such as half-way houses where
there is a black clientele and equal op
portunity offices,” said Dr. Stone.
iwo offsprings of the Afro-Am
curriculum which Dr. Stone feels have
added to the overall attraction of the
pro^am are the Southern Black Press
Institute (SBPI), held in the summer for
high school students interested in jour
nalism and second, the opportunity for
juniors to spend a year in Africa. There is
presently a student in Sierra Leone.