Elizabeth West Honored by the College Language Association with Annual Book Award for “Finding Francis: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom”
By Jeremy Craig, Communications Manager for the Office of the Provost
Dr. Elizabeth West, Professor of English and Africana Studies, has been honored by the College Language Association (CLA) with its annual book award for Finding Francis: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom.
The CLA is one of the nation’s oldest professional associations of Black scholars, founded in 1937 by Black collegiate scholars of English and world languages.
Dr. West’s book (University of South Carolina Press) tells the story of Francis Sistrunk and her children, from enslavement into force migration across the deep South. Spanning both the antebellum period on through post-emancipation America, it reclaims and honors those women to were essential in the historic survival and triumph of Black people during and after the institution of slavery in the United States.
In telling this inspirational story, Dr. West unearths past the archival material that barely noticed Sistrunk and her family. The story is one of everyday Black resistance, rooted in a determination to maintain enduring connections of family, kinship and community despite the inhumanity of an institution set to tear families and communities apart.
Dr. West is director of academics for Georgia State’s Center for Studies on Africa and Its Diaspora, and has served as executive director for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (2015-2019).
Her teaching and scholarship focus on spirituality and gender in early African American and Women’s Literature, and African Diasporic Literatures of the Atlantic World. Her works have been widely published and she has been honored by numerous organizations – including CLA’s own award named after her, the Elizabeth J. West First-Time Attendee Award.
To learn more about Dr. West, visit https://cas.gsu.edu/profile/elizabeth-west/.
Information for the book summary was provided by the University of South Carolina Press.