Carolivia Herron is the author of the much publicized children's story, Nappy Hair. A huge controversy occurred when a white teacher in Brooklyn, New York, was verbally accosted by members of the African American community for reading and sharing Ms. Herron's book with her class of African American and Hispanic children.
It was only after the media created a circus that the parents realized that Nappy Hair was a celebration of heritage. Nappy Hair, written in call and response style, enables young people to be active participants in living poetry.
In Ms. Herron newest book- "Always an Olivia" a children's book that tells the history of her African and Jewish roots she tells her fasinating story of discovery. In her programs she draws from her own experiences as an African American Jewish woman who speaks to the large issues of racism, sexism and first amendment issues. Her program will also focus on African American epic and oral poetry, in context to European and Hebraic epic poetry (comparing Nappy Hair to the Iliad, Odyssey, Divine Comedy , Paradise Lost as well as the Bible etc.) as well as Rap Music and its continuum of the oral/epic tradition.
In 1986 Ms. Herron created the Epicenter for the Study of Epic and Oral Literature as a part of the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Harvard University. Epicenter Stories insists that there is evidence of all the disciplines that we need to know – history, science, math, physics, music, dance, poetry – surrounding every individual life, wherever that life is lived. Physics, history and storytelling exist in the jailhouses, universities, museums and homeless shelters.
Ms. Herron has spent most of her professional career at Harvard University as a professor and as a Visiting Scholar (African American Studies, Divinity School, School of Education, electronic education), she has also had a professorial appointment at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and has had additional visiting scholar and or professor positions at Brandeis University, Hebrew College, Brookline, MA, Carlton College, Congo, Brazzaville, and the Republic of Congo. Her fellowships include: Fulbright Fellowship to Mexico, Bunting Fellow of Radcliffe College, NEH Fellowship in Curriculum Development in African American Studies. Howard University School of Education has adopted Nappy Hair and Dr. Herron's extensive multimedia project as the core curriculum for three model schools to be in 2001.