Academic journal article African American Review

In Memoriam Pinkie Gordon Lane

Academic journal article African American Review

In Memoriam Pinkie Gordon Lane

Article excerpt

When Pinkie Gordon Lane passed away on December 3, 2008, Louisiana and the nation lost a gifted lyric poet, whose long and distinguished career as an educator, administrator, community leader, and racial pathbreaker culminated in her appointment as the first African American Poet Laureate of Louisiana in 1989. A native of Philadelphia, Pinkie left a sewing factory job in 1945 to enter Spelman College, where she earned a B.A. in English and art. During her senior year she met her future husband, Ulysses Lane (d. 1971). The couple moved to Baton Rouge in 1956, where she found work at Southern University. In 1967 she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Three years later she published her first volume of poetry, Wind Thoughts, which was followed by Mystic Female (1978), I Never Scream (1985), Girl at the Window (1991), and Elegy For Etheridge (2000). For many years Chair of her department, Pinkie was also a sought-after speaker; her readings took her across the states and to Africa.

Pinkie was my beloved friend and colleague for twenty-three years. My students were enraptured by her visits to my classes, where poems on a page came alive through her velvet and dramatic voice. …

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