Carolivia Herron

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The 20th anniversary of NAPPY HAIR celebrates what started as a book celebrate a childs background and became the #1 banned book.  Today NAPPY HAIR and it's author CAROLIVIA HERRON open up eyes and heart with the unique tie in of poetry, culture and passion to unite all people through the written and spoken word.


She is a Black Jew and much of her writing stems from that heritage, she has also been named the “Grandmother of Hip Hop” as she was the first prof in the US to teach a course on hip hop - - - comparing it to ancient Greek epic.

The natural tie in groups would be, Jewish Student Organizations, Social Justice, Black Student Union, early education and english.  If there is a class on Hip Hop or a poetry club they too would be interested.

Here is some recent inf:

On December 15, 2016 she will be talking at the NYPL on “Banned in Brooklyn: The Journey of Nappy Hair from DC to NYC”
For education majors there is a natural tie in with education, diversity and a reading of the book to exemplify call and response and the creation of poetry for students.

Her first book, Thereafter Johnnie, has recently been identified as one of 100 novels that every Jew should read. Here is the link to the article.

Opera Ebony in NYC is working to produce her opera, “Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson" in February of 2017
(In the mid 20th century opera singer Marian Anderson, was denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall by the DAR because of her color. At the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, she broke the barrier to perform at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939.)

Her novel “Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair" interconnects a fictionalized version of my life with the life of Asenath, wife of Joseph, son of Jacob in the Bible

Her latest book, “Peacesong DC"
  a) was specifically requested by the Pen/Faulkner Writers in School Program for placement in Washington, DC high schools
  b) is a 95% autobiographical account of growing up black and Jewish in Washington, DC
  c) is being considered for a Jewish Book Council Jewish book award. The Jewish Book Council has already asked her to be in a program  in Washington, DC in February


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.

Carolivia Herron is an African American Jewish author, educator and
publisher living in Washington, DC. She received her Ph.D. in
Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of
Pennsylvania, and has held professorial appointments at Harvard
University, Mount Holyoke College, California State University, Chico,
and the College of William and Mary. Most recently she has been the
Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Project Humanities at Arizona State

Carolivia’s publications include the adult novel Thereafter Johnnie
(Random House, 1991), the critical edition, The Selected Works of
Angelina Weld Grimké (Oxford University Press, 1991), and the
children’s books, Nappy Hair (Knopf books for Young Children, 1997),
Little Georgia and the Apples (EpicCenter Stories, 2005), Always An
Olivia (Kar-Ben, 2007), and Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair
(Street to Street Epic Publications, 2014).

She has also written lyrics and librettos for the following  musical
works: Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson (music composed
by Bruce Adolphe; commissioned by the Washington National Opera and
the Washington Performing Arts Society); The Journey of Phillis
Wheatley  (music composed by Nkeiru Okoye, commissioned by Boston
Landmarks Orchestra); We are Free in choral composition, Reach out,
Raise Hope, Change Society (music composed by Bruce Adolphe,
commissioned by the University of Michigan School of Social Work), and
An Ocean Can Dry Into Silence (music composed by Ellen Harrison;
performed by University of Cincinnati Camarata).

Dr. Herron promotes and publishes the writings of Jews of African
descent and directs the educational program, EpicCenter Stories, a
non-profit that encourages the study of traditional epics and the
writing and publishing of contemporary epic. She also directs the
PAUSE writing program (Potomac Anacostia Ultimate Story Exchange), and
teaches courses in classical epic, Star Trek, and hip-hop. In fact,
she was the first professor in the United States to teach a university
course in hip-hop. (Harvard University, 1987).

Carolivia loves epic literature and the city of Washington, DC. Much
of this novel, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, derives its
impetus from her discovery of John Milton’s Paradise Lost in the
Carnegie Library of Washington, DC when she was eleven years old. The
second volume of this two volume publication, Asenath and Our Song of
Songs, will be published by 2017.

Carolivia Herron has won writing awards and commendations from from
Be’chol Lashon, Parenting Magazine Reading Magic, Marian Vanett
Ridgway Awards, the Patterson Poetry Center, the Elizabeth Stone
Memorial Award, and has received the Exceptional Women in the Arts
Award from Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.