Michelle Hite, Ph.D.
In the foreword that she pens for Frank X Walker’s book, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, Michelle S. Hite writes that “we will have complied with Medgar Evers’s request to ‘turn him loose’ when we bring all of our creative powers to bear on questioning the return of the past.” This assertion and the life that it considers goes a long way towards capturing the themes, subjects, and concerns of Dr. Hite’s scholarship and teaching as both focus on death and mourning in African American Culture. As an extension of this interest, she sits on the advisory committee to the historic preservation board for South-View Cemetery. South-View is the oldest, for-profit, African American owned cemetery in the United States. It is the original burial place of Martin Luther King, Jr. and remains the final resting place for Reverend Henry McNeil Turner, John Wesley Dobbs, as well as victims of the 1906 Atlanta race riots, and several of those killed during the Atlanta Child Murders; thus, it is a rich landscape of Atlanta history. In addition to the presentations and scholarship that Hite has published on South-View, she is the co-editor of I Die Daily: Police Brutality, Black Bodies, and the Force of Children’s Literature,a strong and rich collection of essays currently under-contract with the University Press of Mississippi.
As an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Spelman College, Dr. Hite has designed courses that reflect her research on death and mourning as well as her interest in examining black American life in its capacity to exemplify the “creative powers” needed for questioning the return of the past and living within a context of violence. Dr. Hite’s course, Toni Morrison As…, introduces students to Toni Morrison as a novelist, as librettist, as children’s book author, as essayist. This course showcases her interest in studying black American life so as to articulate alternative models of living well. For her work on Morrison, Hite recently received an advance contract from McFarland press for her monograph, Civic Lessons: Toni Morrison and Practices of Ethical Engagement