Roland L. Williams, Jr.
Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, Roland L. Williams, Jr. is the author of African American Autobiography and the Quest for Freedom, which describes how classic slave narratives treat learning, in the words of Frederick Douglass, as “the pathway from slavery to freedom.”
His current research interests concern black characterization in literature and cinema through the last century. He has a forthcoming book entitled Black Male Frames: How African Americans appeared in a Century of Hollywood Cinema (1903-2003). The study shows that slavery in a land sold on liberty produced stereotypes that passed from the stage to the screen by way of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Paragons of Discretion is his work in progress. It is a study of 19th and 20th century black literary characters.
Williams is also a contributor to the critical source book African American Authors along with the Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance and The Oxford Companion to African American Literature.
Williams has published critiques in the African American Review, Journal of Modern Literature, and Research in African Literatures as well as the Journal of American Folklore. His fiction has appeared in Obsidian II.
In addition to Temple University, Williams has taught at the University of Delaware, the Ohio State University, and Haverford College. He teaches a set of courses on black lives and letters as cases that test fidelity to national ideals; plus, he offers classes that treat diverse national stories as bits of a dialogue between “pioneer” and “settler” camps, concerning the rights of citizens.