Amy Winans, (1966–2015)
Taylor Holloway-Brown (1993–2015)
How to begin? My biggest fear is that any words I offer will be gratuitous or inadequate, but a love of words is what brought us together as a staff in the first place. So perhaps I should trust that telling you a little about our colleagues, who we lost suddenly in March and May this year, explains why we dedicate this issue to them. Even as I write, news is breaking across the country that nine African Americans were massacred at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Against such violence I want to remember that Amy and Taylor were each deeply compassionate women committed to public scholarship and social justice.
Amy was part of MLS since 2002-2003; she was one of the original staff that helped bring the journal to Susquehanna and re-launch it in its current form. She had a passion for teaching and genuine concern for the well being of those working in this profession, evident in the numerous essays she shepherded to press—essays on social class and pedagogy, coming out, teaching students with learning difficulties, service learning, contemplation and silence in the classroom, challenges facing contingent faculty, and using digital materials or unusual ones like zombie films to foster student engagement in literature and composition courses. Her special cluster in 35.1 (Spring 2005) on couples that work in academia, a topic that gets very little attention, is one of the best we’ve published.
Amy grew up in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, attending Glastonbury High School and then Duke University, where she graduated with her B.A. in 1988. She earned her Masters at the University of Michigan in 1990 and her Ph.D. in English at Penn State in 1998. She was an associate editor of the anthology Early American Writings (Oxford U.P., 2001), co-editor of the volume American Women Prose Writers to 1820 for the Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale Research, 1999), and author of a number of articles about engaging difference and interrogating whiteness in the classroom. But there were also the many small kindnesses for which Amy was well known. At the start of the spring semester I ran into her in our department mailroom where I had just found another of the clippings she would sometimes slip into my mailbox. This one was about Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, because I was teaching my comic book class that semester. I thanked her and we talked for a bit about comics, which her husband Tony Morgan collects, and about her daughter, Aurelia. Then Amy asked how my courses were going and I think I gave the usual response, that it was always a slog. “Don’t let it get you down,” she said, but it isn’t the words that stick with me. It’s how attentively she listened and the sincerity of her reply, the impression you always had in speaking with her that every conversation really mattered. That’s the kindness I’ll miss the most.
Taylor was the most recent addition to the MLS staff; I’d just appointed her Managing Editorial Assistant in November. This is an award position for students in the Publishing & Editing program at Susquehanna, and Taylor was the ideal student for the job. She showed great promise as an editor, but more importantly she had a tremendous gift for understanding people and bringing out the best in them. I saw Taylor in our publishing and editing lab every day, and often late into the night, working on MLS and also with other student editors and designers, teaching them how to use Adobe InDesign, Google Drive, Photoshop, and WordPress. She joked that she ought to get a dedication plaque on her favorite chair when she graduated. Taylor logged submissions for us, handled correspondence with aplomb, and helped proofread 44.2 (Winter 2015).
There was never any question that she was going to work in New York for a major trade press. That was Taylor’s ambition as a 2011 graduate of Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and when she graduated Susquehanna University on May10 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Publishing and Editing. She was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and had been a member of Green Pastures Community Church since 2002, where she served on the hospitality, technology and youth ministries.
She had also been accepted into the 68th session of the prestigious Columbia Publishing Course, with a full scholarship. The day she came to my office to tell me the good news she was over the moon, and she was already looking forward to living with her sister in Brooklyn, taking the subway into Manhattan, soaking it up. After graduation I circled Smith Field looking to give her a small gift. I had almost given up finding her when I saw Taylor and her boyfriend headed my way. “You’re not a photo person, are you, Dr. Roth? You wouldn’t take a picture with me, would you?” Of course I would. We put our arms around each other, the camera snapped, and off she ran, disappearing into the crowd.
— Laurence Roth
MLS 45.1 (Summer 2015)
Public Scholarship: Making the Case
Rosemary Erickson Johnsen
Trayvon Martin in Popular Culture: A Roundtable
Jonathan W. Gray
“The Madness-Driven Violence”: Black Bodies and the Evolution of a Radical Black Poetics
Jennifer D. Ryan-Bryant
A Legal Right to Genocidal Paranoia: South Park, Racism, and the Trayvon Martin Case
Open Season 2015: Hip-Hop’s Responsibility in Civil Rights Lost
The Negro Tweets His Presence: “Black Twitter” as Social and Political Watchdog
Coda: Where Do We Go From Here?
Jonathan W. Gray
Claims to Political Place through the National Council of American Indians:
Locating Gertrude and Raymond Bonnin in the Nation’s Capital
Robert Strong: You Speak Arrows (Toward the Translation of America, 1630-1676)