Trudier Harris

J. Carlyle Sitterson Distinguished Professor Emerita

Trudier Harris, formerly J. Carlyle Sitterson Distinguished Professor, taught courses in African American literature and folklore at undergraduate and graduate levels.  In her thirty-six years of full-time teaching, she also served on the faculties of The College of William and Mary and Emory University.  In addition to lecturing throughout the United States, as well as in Jamaica, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, England, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, she has written and edited twenty-four volumes.  Among her published works, which range across African American literature and folklore from their beginnings in America, are Black Women in the Fiction of James Baldwin (1985, for which she won the 1987 College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award), Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison (1991), and The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South, which Choice designated as one of the “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2009 in its “best of the best” listings.  It also won The College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award for 2010.  Her latest book is Martin Luther King, Jr., Heroism, and African American Literature (2014).

During 1996-97, she was a resident fellow at the National Humanities Center.  In 2000, she was presented with the William C. Friday/Class of 1986 Award for Excellence in Teaching.  In 2002, she was presented with the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for selection as Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar.  In 2003, she was appointed Faculty Marshal at UNC and served in that capacity until her retirement.  Her memoir, Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South, appeared from Beacon Press in 2003.  Summer Snow was chosen by the Orange County (NC) Commission on Human Relations to inaugurate its One-Book, One-Community Reading Program for 2003-2004.  In 2005, she was awarded the UNC System Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching.  Also in 2005, she received the John Hurt Fisher Award of the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English (SAADE) for the outstanding contributions she has made to the field of English scholarship throughout her career.  During the fall semester of 2006, she was Faculty Director of an Honors Study Abroad Seminar in Cape Town, South Africa.  In 2008, she was awarded the inaugural George H. Johnson Prize for Distinguished Achievement by an Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellow at UNC.

In March of 2014, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established the “Trudier Harris Distinguished Professorship” in her honor.

Trudier Harris currently resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she is a Professor of English at the University of Alabama.


Hire Date: 1979

Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Columbus, 1973

M.A., The Ohio State University, Columbus, 1972

B.A. Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1969

Research Groups and Interests

Group VI - American Literature to 1900
Group VII - American Literature from 1900 to the Present
Group XI - African American Literature
Group XII - Southern Literature