[Ken Warren] You can often tell the importance of a piece of
work not only by what is said at the moment of publication, but
by what you see happening in the years subsequent to that publication,
and particularly say in fields that are not directly those fields
of the writer.
I work in American literature and one of the fascinating things
that I've noticed in canvassing work in early to mid-twentieth
century American literature and African American literature over
the past several years, has been the growth in prominence of
discussion of the Great Migration. And how much that event has
shaped and continues to shape our understanding of the production
of black literature, particularly in the twentieth century.
And one of the consistent features of the work that I've seen
over the past five to seven years has been a work that gets cited,
and that's Jim Grossman's Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners
and the Great Migration. And this is a work that gives much more,
primarily historical consideration, ______ is a citation and that
work has been a remarkable watershed for continuing studies in
American, African-American literature in the twentieth century.
That being said, that half of the importance have as an important
recent scholarship, one of those rare teachers, Vice-President
of Research and Education at the Newberry, the Newberry Library.
I know of him as someone who has called over the past couple of
years and asked if I would help chair fellowship panels and read
through hundreds of fellowship applications. But he really is
an important contributor to the intellectual and scholarly _______
Chicago in the American studies and American historical studies
throughout the nation.
I've also been involved with Jim in part in the Newberry Library's
"Teachers as Scholars" projects and I _______ after
I participated in major seminars on a variety of topics, Jim
maybe a little more ______ after I finish. But I've been working
through that program, to the seminars on ______ renaissance to
_______, at the Chicago, Newberry Library at the Newberry and
using its immense resources and ____ studies.
So it's my great
pleasure, and I think our great fortune today,
to have Jim Grossman.