1. Title 2


 DBLAC was founded in the summer of 2016 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 found themselves sharing stories of institutional hardships and violence which forged 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 wanted an inter-institutional space that was our own to foster relationships. But we wanted those relationships to move beyond dwelling on violences that we experienced–though such violences might be the 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 was thus born to pursue that definition.​​

The creation of DBLAC was spearheaded by the acknowledgement of shared experiences by six individuals at DMAC 2016, two of whom–Lou Maraj and Khirsten L. Echols–sought to solidify a digital space for the group. In early 2017, Sherita V. Roundtree joined the team as the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus Representative for DBLAC. Sherita brings her experiences with the Caucus and an enthusiasm for supporting and showcasing graduate student success to DBLAC.


Pictured above 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).


​​Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Lou Maraj is a PhD Candidate at The Ohio State University. He holds degrees in Communication Arts, Literature, and Social Science from Ramapo College of New Jersey (BA) and English and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University (MA). He has taught composition and literature to various college and high-school populations since 2010. ​​ His scholarship lies at the intersections of rhetorical theory, digital media studies, and critical pedagogies. Specifically, his work focuses on rhetoric surrounding Blackness and implementing popular forms of digital media communication in antiracist pedagogy. By shifting marginalized modes of reading and writing to the center of composition classrooms, his research seeks to create more inclusionary spaces for minority identities within education systems.


Khirsten L. Echols is a doctoral candidate at the University of Louisville. She holds  degrees in English Language and Literature from Tougaloo College (BA) and Composition, Rhetoric, and English Studies from the University of Alabama (MA). Since 2013, she has taught a range of introductory and advanced courses in Composition, Business and Technical Writing, Literature, and University Orientation. She also has one year of experience as an editor of Cardinal Compositions, U of L’s digital and print student writing publication, and as a Writing Across the Curriculum consultant at Kentucky State University.

Khirsten’s research lies at the intersections of cultural rhetorics, namely African American rhetoric, historiography, and digital humanities. Specifically, her work is centered on HBCU communities and the rhetorical affordances of institutional narratives for revisionist presentations of HBCU histories.


​​Sherita V. Roundtree is a doctoral candidate at The Ohio State University. She holds degrees in English, Secondary Education from Salisbury University (BA) and in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (MA). She has taught several versions of first-level writing courses, facilitated community workshops, co-taught a graduate teacher training course, and served as a writing center tutor at various institutions.

Sherita’s research lies at the intersections of Composition Studies, Black women’s rhetorics, writing program administration, and service learning initiatives. Specifically, her work is centered on Black women graduate teaching assistants’ (GTAs) teaching efficacy and pedagogical approaches.