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Wed, 04.26.1939

Cherry Muhanji, Poet, and Educator born

Cherry Muhanji

*Cherry Muhanji was born this date in 1939. She is a Black poet and writer.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, she was born Jannette (Jenny) Washington. Muhanji's love has been with poetry since her childhood.  At the age of fourteen, Muhanji was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Bell," which triggered in her the desire to paint images and emotions through the use of verse. Muhanji switched to writing prose in the 1980s because poetry made no money.  Although Muhanji left poetry to write her book 'Her,' she did not completely abandon it, as the language used in her novel.

Muhanji's academic pursuits in English, Anthropology, and African American World Studies were at the University of Iowa. Her publication, Tight Spaces, is a book of short stories co-authored with 2 other individuals. It was published in 1987 and won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1988.

Much of Muhanji's own life is veiled in Her, which took 3 years (from 1987-1990) to complete, was a version of Muhanji's life that she "wished would have happened. She completed her B.A. in 1990 and her PhD. in 1997, which culminated in a novel, written as her dissertation, entitled Mama Played First Chair.

Her other publication, Tight Spaces, is a book of short stories co-authored with 2 other individuals. It was published in 1987 and won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1988. She is a lesbian educator and artist of the written word. She is a mother and grandmother (3 sons and 3 grandsons) and a Professor at Portland State University.

To be a Writer

Reference:

Aunt Lute.com

Voices From The Gaps
University of Minnesota
207 Lind Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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white man dead to free the nigger in his head??? Reprinted by permission of Cora Rivers. WATTS by Conrad Kent Rivers.
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