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DBLAC is founded in response to micro- and macro-level issues that affect Black graduate students in the academy. At the Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC) at The Ohio State University, Black participants find themselves sharing stories of institutional hardships and violence which forge communal relationships among them. As members of the fields of composition, literature, literacy, and those related to English Studies who experience oppression as both students and teachers in those fields, we want an inter-institutional space that is our own to foster relationships. But we want those relationships to move beyond dwelling on violences that we experience. Though such violences might be marks that allow us to recognize the pain of our positions in relation to institutional power, they do not define us or our work. Digital Black Lit (Literatures/Literacies) and Composition is born to pursue that definition.​​

The creation of DBLAC is spearheaded by the acknowledgement of shared experiences by six individuals at DMAC 2016.
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Pictured from left:
Laura Allen (The Ohio State University), Dr. Miller Newman (Montgomery College), Sharon Marshall (St. Johns University), Khirsten L. Echols (University of Louisville),
Ebony Bailey (The Ohio State University), Lou Maraj (The Ohio State University).

Two of those individuals, Lou Maraj and Khirsten L. Echols, solidify a digital space for the group and work to launch the site through 2016. 
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At the Interrogating Discourses & Representations of Anger Graduate Student Conference at The Ohio State University, DBLAC co-founders launch the DBLAC.org website with their presentation “DBLAC: Turning Individual Pain into Collective Gain.” 


Sherita V. Roundtree joins the team as the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus Area Liaison for DBLAC. Sherita brings her experiences with the Caucus and an enthusiasm for supporting and showcasing graduate student success to DBLAC.



In celebration of it's site launch anniversary, DBLAC launches its email series for its growing membership. 



​For the mission of the organization to be fulfilled—that is, to establish and maintain a supportive committee of Black scholars in fields related to language—the organization is structured as a network. We create and maintain living relationships ranging in ranks from senior faculty, junior faculty, graduate students, advanced undergraduate students and with/in other professional and community groups for the purpose of mentorship and the continued success of a family line of scholars. 

​To that end, the network is structured somewhat like a (family) tree. Rooted by supporting faculty and community members, co-founders represent its trunk, while area liaisons are main branches nourishing the fruit of members' Black success. The roles of each member category are as follows.    
Founders will attain and provide sponsorship for the organization. That sponsorship can take the form of grants, financial and material resources, new and continued relationships with academic institutions and bodies, and support for area liaisons. Co-founders will maintain website, email, and social media presence, but may divvy responsibility according to relevance to areas liaisons of certain activities. Founders play a role in the lifetime of the organization.
Supporting faculty will be DBLAC members and area liaisons who move to the next stage and can be active mentors to graduate students. They can also be existing faculty who want to come aboard. 
Area Liaisons will make connections within subject areas and/or conferences. They will work closely with folks in those areas and conferences to seek out and maintain these relationships. They may initiate DBLAC sponsored/related programming, panels, and workshops in conversation with founders. Area liaisons continue in these roles as faulty, cycle out after graduating, or choose graduate student successors. 
Supporting community will be DBLAC affiliates (community members and professionals) who can be active in fostering opportunities for community engagement, research, & public change for graduate students.
Members can follow DBLAC programming through social media, at conferences, participate in online and in person conversations and DBLAC sponsored activities. Members will receive social media and email info urging them to contribute to conversations, features, blogs, and in person events. Members may also be involved in mentoring advanced undergraduate students.