Gomez-Jefferson, Annetta L. 1927–

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Gomez-Jefferson, Annetta L. 1927–

(Annetta Louise Gomez-Jefferson)

PERSONAL: Born December 5, 1927, in Detroit, MI; daughter of Joseph (a bishop) and Hazel (Thompson) Gomez; married Curtis F. Jefferson, 1950 (divorced, 1971); children: Curtis A. Gomez, Joseph Jefferson. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: Paul Quinn College, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1957; Western Reserve University (now Case-Western Reserve University), M.A., 1959; also attended John Carroll University; studied drama with Erwin Piscator at Dramatic Workshop, New York City, 1948–50. Politics: Democrat. Religion: African Methodist Episcopal. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, oil painting (portraits), music.

ADDRESSES: Home—2631 Tanglewood Dr., Wooster, OH 44691. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Teacher of English and drama at public junior and senior high schools in Cleveland, OH, 1959–66; Educational Research Council of America, Cleveland, writer, 1966–67; producer and hostess of the television series Black Journal: Cleveland Response, Brother Man, and Blackpeoplehood, between 1967 and 1974; College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, teacher of theater and department head, 1974–95, professor emeritus, 1995–, and director of more than forty plays. WVIZ-TV, producer of television series, including Inside/Out, Individualization of Instruction, Behavior Modification, and Reflections in Black; producer and narrator of the series The History of Black Americans. Stage Right Repertory Company, founder and director, summers, 1982–86. Oberlin College, visiting lecturer in residence, 1972; Cuyahoga Community College, guest director for Humanist Theater at Karamu House; gives poetry readings at colleges and universities.

MEMBER: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Ohioana.

AWARDS, HONORS: Martha Holden Jennings grant for the television series Reflections in Black; Ford Foundation grant for the television series Blackpeoplehood; Luce grants, 1986–87, 1990–91; citation for distinguished service to Ohio in the field of theater, Ohioana, 2000.

WRITINGS:

Mazes (poetry), Ramaka Press (Cleveland, OH), 1957.

(Editor) Through Love to Light: Excerpts from the Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers of Joseph Gomez, a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Christian Education Department, African Methodist Episcopal Church (Nashville, TN), 1997.

In Darkness with God: The Life of Joseph Gomez, a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1998.

The Sage of Tawawa: Reverdy Cassius Ransom, 1861–1959, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 2002.

Writer of the television series Black Journal: Cleveland Response, Brother Man, and Blackpeoplehood, between 1967 and 1974; writer for television series, including Inside/Out, Individualization of Instruction, Behavior Modification, and Reflections in Black, all WVIZ-TV; writer of the series The History of Black Americans. Work represented in anthologies, including Classical and Modern Narratives of Leadership, edited by Vivian Holiday, Bolchazy-Carducci (Wauconda, IL), 2000. Contributor of poetry to magazines, including Black Scholarship, A.M.E. Church Review, and Free Lance.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Cinnamon Secrets, poetry, publication expected in 2006; Born Alive, an autobiography, 2007.

SIDELIGHTS: Annetta L. Gomez-Jefferson once told CA: "I have always wanted to express myself through writing. When I was a small girl, I would sit on my father's lap and listen to him read from the renowned authors, past and present; and I dreamed that some day I would be able to transport people to another realm as those writers did me. Although I have a special love for poetry, I am most inspired by biographies, the events in the lives of real people, their strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Perhaps that is also why, when I paint, I am most interested in the human face. To me there is nothing more revealing. The faces are an expression of people's lives—their evolution—their struggle up out of the darkness toward the divine."

"Since retiring from the College of Wooster in 1995, I have had time at last to concentrate fully on my writing. I wanted to write biographies of African Americans who paved the way for the civil rights leaders of the sixties and today. So many people believe that the movement only started during that period. But there are many valiant men and women who clawed their way from slavery, Jim Crowism, and racism in the late 1800s and early 1900s, whose stories have never been told. I wanted to tell their story. My father, Joseph Gomez, was one of them, as was his mentor, Reverdy Cassius Ransom. The biographies of my father and Ransom have been published by Kent State University Press. Now I am in the process of telling my own story and writing a book of poetry.

"I begin writing by amassing all the available material I can find about a subject that especially interests me. I gather letters, newspaper articles, journals, pictures, programs, minutes, speeches and sermons, books; and I conduct interviews. In addition, most of the time, I have rich personal memories of the personalities about whom I write. Then I put the events in chronological order on cards and see what parallels, what themes emerge. After that I sit at my computer and begin to write, keeping the outline in mind. For the most part, if I have done my research carefully, the story writes itself. My retirement has been most enlightening. Seemingly, at the age of seventy-one, I began to carve out a second career for myself. At seventy-seven, I am still going. Every day I learn more, and I believe I am making a contribution to African American history, a history ignored for so long. It is good to have a small part in its evolution."

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