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WVRHC to host “Reflections on West Virginia Poet Norman Jordan featuring Brucella Jordan”

Norman and Brucella Jordan

The West Virginia and Regional History Center will host an evening of reflection on the life and work of poet Norman Jordan (1938-2015) presented by his wife, Dr. Brucella Jordan, Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room in WVU’s Downtown Library.

“As one of West Virginia’s foremost Black poets, Norman Jordan is featured in the History Center’s current exhibition, ‘West Virginia’s Poetic Heart.’ His work is inspiring and imaginative. I am excited to host this program and to invite attendees to visit the WVRHC to see the exhibit,” WVRHC Interim Director Lori Hostutler said.

A native of Ansted, W.Va., Norman Jordan spent his early life in Cleveland, Ohio, and returned to West Virginia in 1977 to earn a bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theater from WVU. He soon after received a master’s in African American Studies from Ohio State University.

Norman Jordan was a leading voice in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.  He authored five books of poetry and his work has been included in more than 42 anthologies. In 2008, he was inducted into the Affrilachian Poets collective. Jordan was a co-founder of the West Virginia African American Arts and Heritage Academy, a weeklong summer program that offers teenagers the opportunity to study an artistic discipline of their choice.  He also co-established the African American Heritage Family Tree Museum in Ansted.

Brucella Jordan describes Norman as a “gentle giant and a creative inspiration to most everyone he interacted with.” Her talk will cover his life as a poet, playwright, activist, performer, and creative inspiration.

Brucella Jordan is a historian and former professor who has been involved in a variety of historical projects. She holds a bachelor’s in history and government from West Virginia Institute of Technology, a master’s in public history and a Ph.D. in history from WVU. She has taught classes primarily in African-American history at WVU, Marshall University Graduate College, West Virginia Institute of Technology, and Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.

She is co-founder and curator of the African American Heritage Family Tree Museum in Ansted, and she portrayed the historical characters Anne Spencer and Ida B. Wells for 10 years under the sponsorship of the West Virginia Humanities Council. Dr. Jordan is the author of “Flashback: Poetry and Commentary,” “Anne Spencer: Poet of the Harlem Renaissance,” “African American Migration to Ansted, West Virginia” and “Aunt Artie’s House.” She currently resides in Ansted.

This program is co-sponsored by the WVRHC and the WVU Humanities Center. It is an in-person-only event, but it will be recorded for future viewing. Please contact Hostuttler at 304-293-1116 with any questions about the program.