Dr. Sandra Shannon, author and/or editor of five renowned books on master playwright August Wilson.

Sandra G. Shannon: Making Time Your Friend

by Judith (Judy) Stephens-Lorenz

Sandra G. Shannon, leading scholar on the works of playwright August Wilson; founder and president of The August Wilson Society; editor of the College Language Association Journal; professor emerita, Department of English, Howard University; Fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre (2018 inductee) and current Fulbright specialist, is a living example of her philosophy--"make time your friend."

She was born in the Tidewater region of Virginia, in Emporia, a once predominantly agricultural town known for growing peanuts. Her parents, Eula Mae and John Luke Garrett, raised her along with her four brothers and one sister, living on the land they owned and growing much of their own food. Today, Dr. Shannon owns the house in which she grew up; known as The Home Place, it remains the site of family gatherings.

Sandra (then Garrett) attended school in Emporia during the time when the city was faced with in-tegration. Through her junior year, at the (mainly African American) Edward Wyatt High School, she recalls the "wonderful, supportive teachers, who worked us hard but cared for us like parents." She particularly remembers her English teacher Thelma B. Holmes, who impressed the students with her wide knowledge and love of literature.... (continued)

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Judith "Judy" Stephens-Lorenz, is emerita professor of humanities and theatre, Penn State University, Schuylkill campus. She is editor of The Plays of Georgia Douglas Johnson: From the New Negro Renaissance to the Civil Rights Movement (University of Illinois Press, 2006) and a co- editor with Prof. Kathy Perkins of Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women (Indiana University Press, 1998). She has published articles in scholarly journals such as the African American Review, Theatre Journal, Text and Performance Quarterly, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre.


Winter 2019

This article is featured in Vol. 24, No. 4

Also in this issue:

  • Across the Pond: Black Theatre in London (Part 1)

  • In Memoriam: Roger Robinson, Lonnie Sattin, Ntozake Shange, and Charles Weldon

  • Editor's Notes: Oh, What a Night!

  • Arts Hotline

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    Dr. Sandra G. Shannon, inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in 2018, was presented the award by Dr. Harry J. Elam.