African American Musicians, Dancers, and Visual Artists in Academe

By Theresa Jenoure

Subjects: Art
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791443545, 245 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443538, 245 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents

Foreword by John Bracey

The Author's Story



Riff #1
Pushing Off

Chapter 1
Understanding the Voices of Artists/Teachers

Riff #2
The Climate

Chapter 2
The Navigators: Twelve Teachers

Chapter 3
To Be Free and to Fly: Artistic Influences

A Pathway to the Garden
Alois's Story

Riff #3
The Course

Chapter 4
This Far by Faith: Sociopolitical Influences

With a Map and a Compass
Paige's Story

Riff #4

Chapter 5
Toward Creation Pedagogy

Sweeping the Temple
Patti's Story

Chapter 6
Who Built the Ark? Conditions at Schools

A View From the Hilltop
Nduma's Story

Riff #5
Faith and Vision

Chapter 7
Sailing Lessons

Creation Pedagogy: A Proposal for More Imaginative and Culturally Responsive Education

Riff #6
Dropping Anchor





Through excerpts and profiles, this inspiring book presents the experiences of twelve African American artists who teach at traditionally White colleges and universities.


Navigators vividly brings to life the stories of twelve African American artists who teach music, dance, and visual arts at colleges and universities that have traditionally been viewed as White institutions. In this captivating and moving book, Theresa Jenoure shows that there's a great deal to be learned from the experience of these teachers. She explores their visions and callings as creative artists and how they function in higher education. In so doing, she presents relevant ideas about the development and sustenance of creativity.

As the twelve teachers' stories unfold, they share their hearts generously and speak their minds frankly, offering kaleidoscopic glimpses into their biographies. They talk about the various paths that led them to become artists and teachers, honoring special people and incidents that have aided them along the way. They identify some of the ways they became politicized, aware, or even positioned in social and political terms, giving names to forces that have shaped their views on social group membership. These are the stories we need to hear. Their voices resonate powerfully, presenting a rare opportunity to be moved and changed.

Much more than merely an objective look at African Americans and the arts, Navigators is as alive and vibrant as the music, art, and dance it describes. Jenoure includes profiles and riffs to serve as bridges between the chapters. The profiles offer closer looks at four of the teachers; and the riffs, much like highly creative jazz compositions from which the word is borrowed, are interjected between the chapters, helping to merge fact with fiction.

Theresa Jenoure is the Director of Augusta Savage Gallery and the Coordinating Director of Multicultural Programs at the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also teaches at the University and at the Graduate School of Arts and Science, Creative Arts in Learning Program at Lesley College.


"There are lessons for all of us here, not only about teaching and learning, but also about artistry, humanity, and determination. By telling their stories in the manner of the creativity she so admires and celebrates, Theresa Jenoure joins the ranks of these inspiring and caring teachers. This is a remarkable book!" — Sonia Nieto, author of The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities

"Theresa Jenoure has not written a traditional academic study in a traditional fashion. She has improvised and created, thought deeply and wisely. Read her carefully. There is much to learn from Navigators. " — from the Foreword by John Bracey, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Writing about African American artists and 'aesthetic' educators from an insider's perspective is much needed. Having her twelve informants tell their own stories gives authenticity to issues and experiences, and voice to a population that is too frequently ignored or marginalized in higher education. Jenoure's style of analysis is on the cutting edge. Interesting, imaginative, and informative!" — Geneva Gay, University of Washington, Seattle