College of Letters & Science

Thulani Davis

Thulani Davis
4121 Helen C. White Hall
Education
B.A. Barnard College, 1970 (English)
M.A. New York University, 2008 (Individualized Study, History, American Studies, Visual Arts)
Ph.D. New York University, 2014 (American Studies)
Short Biography
Thulani Davis is an interdisciplinary scholar and writer working in several genres. She is currently at work on a book entitled, Fugitive Freedoms: A Race, Politics & Black Culture Circuit Before Civil Rights. Her teaching interests are black political thought, slavery, Reconstruction, and African American literature. A longtime journalist, critic and theater artist, she is a student of literary theory and innovation in performance arts. She has been a recipient of a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Writers Award, a PEW Foundation National Theatre Artist Residency, and a Charles H. Revson Fellowship on the Future of New York City. She was an inaugural fellow of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York. Davis is also a past Grammy winner and Grammy nominee, and was honored by the Veterans Committee of the Congressional Black Caucus for work on the 2011 National Monument designation of Fortress Monroe, VA, site of the 1619 landing of Africans and the onset of the flight of enslaved people during the Civil War. She was the 2013 recipient of the Lerner Prize in American Studies at New York University, and she is a 2010 Distinguished Alumna of Barnard College and a 2013 Barnard Africana Studies Distinguished Alumna, among other awards.
Books
My Confederate Kinfolk: A 21st Century Freedwoman Discovers Her Roots, Basic Books, 2006
Everybody’s Ruby, Samuel French, 2000
Amistad, Lyric Opera of Chicago, 1997
Maker of Saints, Scribner, 1996
Malcolm X: The Great Photographs, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1993
1959, Grove Press, 1992
Playing the Changes, Wesleyan University Press, 1985
All the Renegade Ghosts Rise, Anemone Press, 1978
Publications
For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, Maurice Berger, Yale, 2010
The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York, Cambridge, 2010
Village Voice articles, 1979-2004
The Color of Theater: Race, Culture and Contemporary Performance, Continuum, 2002
War of the Words: 20 Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature, Three Rivers Press, 2001
Soul: Black Power, Politics and Pleasure, NYU Press, 1998
Bomb: Speak Fiction and Poetry! G & B Arts International, 1998Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop and Rap, Delta Press, 1995
My Soul Is a Witness: African-American Women’s Spirituality, Beacon, 1995
Bomb Interviews, City Lights Books, 1992
From Totems to Hip Hop, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003
Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, Henry Holt, 1994
Walk on the Wild Side: Urban American Poetry Since 1975, Scribner’s, 1994
Moon Marked and Touched by Sun: Plays by African-American Women, TCG, 1994
The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry, Wesleyan/New England, 1993
The New Cavalcade: African-American Writing from 1760 to the Present, Howard, Press, 1993
Art Against Apartheid, Ikon Inc., 1986
The Village Voice Anthology, William Morrow, 1982
Third World Women, Third World Communications, 1972
Recent Lectures and Presentations
Confronting Racial Capitalism: The Black Radical Tradition & Cultures of Liberation, City University of New York Graduate Center & New York University, November 20-21, 2014. Title: “The Building of Political Structures on Networks after the Civil War,”

Barnard College, New York City, October 17, 2013, keynote on the announcement of Africana Studies as a department. Topic: “Fugitive Freedoms: A Race, Politics and Blues Circuit Before Civil Rights.”
Selected Scripts: Film and Theater
The Sojourner Washing Society, A Musical in Gospel & Blues, Steven Robinson, composer
2012, First reading, July 2014, Alliance Theater & Black Arts Festival, Atlanta
In Ragtime: James Reese Europe, 2011, Louis Massiah, Producer, Scribe Video Center
Night of Fire, DCI Productions, 2010 [In development]
Maker of Saints, DCI Productions, 2011 [In development]
The Souls of Black Folk: An Oratorio for Five Actors, CUNY Grad Center & National Black Arts Festival, 2003
Paid in Full, Miramax, 2002
I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African American Arts,1999,PBS Series, Blackside, Inc.
Everybody’s Ruby: Story of a Murder in Florida, Premier, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1999
Dark Passages, Miya Masaoka, composer, World Premiere, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, 1998
Amistad, An Opera, Anthony Davis, composer, World Premiere, Lyric Opera of Chicago, 1997
W. E. B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices,” 1996, Louis Massiah, Producer, Scribe Video
A Woman Unadorned, song cycle, Bernadette Speech, composer, Lincoln Center, 1994
Adaptation, Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1990
The E. & O. Line, an electronic opera, Anne LeBaron, composer, Univ. of the District of Columbia, 1989
X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Anthony Davis, composer, World Premiere, New York City Opera, 1986
Where the Mississippi Meets the Amazon [w/ Hagedorn & Shange] New York Shakespeare Festival, 1977