John O. Hodges is a former UT faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies, and he served as chair of African and African-American Studies from 1997 to 2002. In his time at UT, Hodges has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by the UT National Alumni Association and has won several other awards, including the Lorayne Lester Award for distinguished service to the university. Hodge’s new book, Delta Fragments: The Recollections of a Sharecropper’s Son, details his experiences as a youth growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950s and 1960s and places these moments in the context of larger themes, such as the civil rights movement and religion in the African-American community. Hodges has also published articles in such journals as The CLA Journal, The Langston Hughes Review, Soundings, and The Southern Quarterly.
Hodges was born in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, where he attended segregated schools and graduated as valedictorian from Broad Street High School in 1963. He won a full-tuition scholarship to attend Morehouse College, where he was an honor student and was selected as a Merrill Scholar to travel and study in Europe. As a student in Nantes, France, Hodges acted in plays and gained fluency in French. He received a Master’s degree in English from Atlanta University and a Master’s and PhD in religion and literature from the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Before accepting his position at UT, Hodges taught in the English Department at Barat College, where he also served as Chair of African American Studies. Hodges has traveled throughout Europe and West Africa and has lectured on African American religion in China. He now lives in Knoxville with his wife Carolyn, who is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at UT.
Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (email@example.com).