Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 3, 1989)
JOYCE from Pago 1
served on numerous panels and com
Among other awards, she was
named Outstanding Young Woman
of America in 1984 and has published
many articles on black writers.
Although Joyce has published
extensively, she says she places as
much importance on teaching as on
'' My publications are important to
me," she says, "but 1 haven't let that
turn me into a selfish person by limit
ing my involvement with students
Joyce is straightforward. Site
speaks to students on their level. Al
though her appearance is exotic for
Nebraska, Joyce projects blunt sin
She tells her class she admires
Hurston because the ./riter was not
"a rural-based person pretending to
At a cocktail party, Joyce met a
black writer who spoke with a British
"No man bred in America, no
black man especially, talks with that
accent. I just wanted to say, 'Hey
brother, get down.'
"I have enough problems of my
own without judging others, but that
didn't stop me that time," Joyce
Professors often are unwitting role
models for students, Joyce says. They
have a profound effect on society,
because of their prolonged contact
with future parents and leaders.
Joyce knows what she’s talking
While she was a pre-med student
at Valdosta State College in Georgia,
Willa Valencia, an English professor,
influenced Joyce to abandon a career
in psychiatry for one in English.
Valencia s poise, enthusiasm and
intelligence struck Joyce. Valencia’s
skill as a teacher made Joyce aware of
her own love for books.
Joyce says she had the same effect
on a pre-med student when she taught
at the University of Maryland. But
Joyce con vinced the student he could
indulge his love for books without
changing his major.
Joyce says her goal is to get stu
dents to internalize books, to spur
then?, to ask questions. Those ques
tions usually lead them to evaluate
their place in society, she says.
Books challenge students feeling
of security with threatening ideas,
she says. In an Afro-American litera
ture course, those ideas cluster
around racism, she says.
“While people have a lot of guilt,
particularly young whites. They say
to me that they aren’t responsible for
racism, their ancestors ire.
“That bothers me. It’s like an
ostrich with its head in the sand.’’
Joyce sayi that because if students
fail to accept the responsibility for
racism now, they will rail to deal with
it effectively as tomorrow’s leaders.
And the legacy is passed on.
JJlack literature is politically
based, Joyce says. It allows oppres
sors to see themselves through the
eyes of the oppressed, she says.
Black writers create self-parodying
tales to cope with the horrors of life,
or# important to
mo, but ! havon't
lot that turn mo
Into a sottish por
$on by limiting my
"They deal with it humorously,
like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy
and Arsenio Hall,’’ she says. "It’s
how they illuminate racism so they
can get up and g^to work everyday/’
Yet Joyce is careful to show stu
dents the beauty of Afro- American
literature, a quality missed if books
are taught only as social documents.
Joyce not only interprets what the
authors say, she looks lor the beauty
in the style of how they say it Joyce
says her articles on authors and their
works focus on the wedding of style
and content in black literature.
Many writers tend to interpret
these works from a sociological view
and that can shadow the beauty of the
books she says.
A scientific interpretation of lit
erature, especially of black litera
ture, is more likely to be sanctioned
by UNL’s Research Council, Joyce
says. It's one reason why she worries
her work may be overlooked by the
The council gives grants to pro
fessors. Joyce says the money often is
used for travel expenses to national
conferences or further research.
But UNL seems to take Joyce's
work seriously. The university
granted her tenure immediately, by
passing the customary six-year pro
Frederick Link, chairman of the
English department, says Joyce de
serves special consideration because
of her reputation as a teacher and her
Kblicauon record. Also, she already
d earned tenure at the University of
Joyce taught at Maryland 10 years
before she decided she was stagnat
ing. Nebraska promised a change of
scenery, giving Joyce the chance to
teach and continue her research, she
Her husband, Walter Gholson, 41,
is a news-editorial student at the UNL
journalism college and just got a job
as coordinator of the youth program
at the Malone Community Center.
She says she has enjoyed her first
eight weeks in Nebraska.
‘4Well I’m not attracted to cold
weather, but people here appear to be
more sincere and less pretentious. ” I
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