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Mellon grant to transform African poetry research, scholarship

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $750,000 grant to an international team led by Kwame Dawes, professor of English, and Lorna Dawes, associate professor of University Libraries, to expand an online portal for African poetry.

Through poetry, humankind has a special power to express our deepest thoughts and strongest feelings,” - “I am thrilled that the Mellon Foundation shares our recognition of understanding the importance of African history through poetry

Kwame Dawes

Initially established in 2017, the African Poetry Digital Portal documents the work of African poets and provides digital access to related creative and intellectual artifacts, materials and research. It is currently comprised of two major sections, “Contemporary African Poets” and “African Poets and Poetry in the News.”

The three-year Mellon Foundation grant provides support for the portal’s next phases: expanding research and scholarship relating to African poetry and joining with other institutions to create a digital collections hub that will give access to materials held by institutions worldwide.

The portal project has attracted an impressive array of partners from Africa and beyond: the University of Cape Town in South Africa, the University of Lomé in Togo and the University of Ghana; University of Oxford and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; and Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and the Library of Congress in the United States.

Chancellor Ronnie Green said he is excited about the scholarly work that will be made possible by the Mellon Foundation grant — and by what the project could mean for Husker students and students around the globe who will access the digital portal.

The Mellon Grant

the Mellon Foundation grant will enable the support of six doctoral research graduate assistantships, three digital humanities research grants, and 78 research stipends to students and researchers. It also will fund a four-person technology team from Nebraska’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities to develop the new portal prototype and will support 11 undergraduate research stipends at collaborating institutions.


Author 4dmin

Founded in 2020, Obsidain is an international organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets.

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