The Founder

Center for Black Literature Staff

Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Brenda M. Greene

Photograph by Chester Higgins Jr.

Dr. Brenda M. Greene, who has committed her life to teaching, learning, and scholarship, is founder and executive director of the Center for Black Literature, and is director of the National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Professor Greene’s research and scholarly work include composition, African American literature, and multicultural literature. She is editor of The African Presence and Influence on the Cultures of the Americas (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), a book of essays that focus on the impact of Africa in the Americas from the perspectives of literature, language, music, dance, and psychology. As co-editor, she has produced Resistance and Transformation: Conversations with Black Writers (Morton Books 2010); Meditations and Ascensions: Black Writers on Writing (Third World Press, 2008); Redefining Ourselves, Black Writers in the Nineties (Peter Lang Publishers, 1999); and Rethinking American Literature (National Council of Teachers of English, 1997). She has also written extensive essays, grants, book reviews, and presentations in English Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in education from New York University.

Dr. Greene’s educational leadership and professional accomplishments span more than 40 years. Known as a literary activist over the years, she has taught at the Board of Education before becoming director of the Right to Read Program at Malcolm King College Harlem Extension; has served on many college committees at MEC; has served as director of literacy and writing programs for youth and adults; and has been a jurist for professional and literary organizations. Most notably through Center for Black Literature, Dr. Greene has consistently pursued her passion of expanding, broadening, and enriching the public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of the value of the literature produced by Black writers. She is the visionary behind groundbreaking public and academic programs that support Black Writers. She is also the host of the long-running weekly program, Writers on Writing, heard on New York airwaves (WNYE, 91.5 FM) and globally online. The program features writers of the African Diaspora discussing their lives, their creative process, and their works (novels, poems, plays, nonfiction, and more).

Dr. Greene has received many awards and has been inducted into the Gwendolyn Brooks Conference International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. Her awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Brooklyn Oldtimers Foundation, the Lynnette Velasco Community Impact Award sponsored by the Harlem Arts Festival, the Educational Leadership Award sponsored by the Medgar Evers College Community Council, the Medgar Evers College Percy E. Sutton SEEK Women’s Empowerment Award, the City College Women in Arts and Culture Award, and the Phenomenal Women in the Media Award sponsored by Our Time Press. Dr. Greene has also received the Determined to Educate Award for Educational Leadership; the Harriet Jacobs Award for Excellence in Literature, presented by the Greater Queens LINKS-Arts Facet; the Betty Smith Arts Award from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office; the Spirit of Africa Award for Achievements in the Creative Arts and in Connecting the World to the Works of Emerging and Established Writers of Color; and the National Conference of Artists Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Black Literature.

The proud mother of two sons, Talib Kweli Greene (an internationally known hip-hop artist) and Jamal K. Greene (professor of Constitutional Law at Columbia University), and the proud grandmother of Amani, Diani, Riya, Ayan, and Kian.