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Academic Director, Carolina Covenant and Achieve Carolina

“I was a student in Dr. James Coleman’s African American literature course in the late 1990s. I needed an elective, always loved books, and never had the chance to focus on black writers in high school, so I thought this class would be a great way to round out my education. As is typical of low-income students, I considered majoring in English, but was persuaded to pursue a “practical” major because of the fear of not having any hard skills after graduation, and thus, not being marketable. This one course in English was my treat to myself. Dr. Coleman’s course was one of the most rigorous I completed at Carolina. He continually pushed me to “think harder, Ms. Goward” and move beyond simple analysis to an understanding of the broader historical and sociological implications of the texts we read in class. I often bothered him to pieces in his office hours asking more questions, and he indulged each one so that I would sharpen my critical thinking skills. Upon graduation I embarked on a journalism career at the sports network ESPN, but I never forgot Dr. Coleman. After 9/11 I wanted to make a stronger impact on my community, and I thought back to how much Dr. Coleman influenced me to go beyond what is required and to develop intellectually. I went back to school [….] and recently completed my doctoral degree in education at George Washington University. Dr. Coleman truly inspired my present journey.”