W. Jason Miller (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Project Title

Backlash Blues: Nina Simone and Langston Hughes

Kent R. Mullikin Fellowship, 2022–23

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, North Carolina State University

W. Jason Miller is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor at North Carolina State University. His work on Martin Luther King, Jr. explores the leader’s relationships with such figures as Langston Hughes and Dorothy Cotton. Never-before-developed photographs have been digitized from original negatives for “When MLK and the KKK Met in Raleigh.” The digital project documents the KKK’s 1,800-person march on the day Dr. King spoke in Raleigh, NC on July 31, 1966. His work on King’s first ever “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in Rocky Mount, NC nine months before the March on Washington, received worldwide coverage in 2015. The speech has been digitized from a long lost reel-to-reel tape and can now be heard (complete with a transcript including over eighty-nine annotations) at kingsfirstdream.com.     

His monographs include Langston Hughes: Critical Lives (Reaktion/University of Chicago Press, 2020), Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric (University Press of Florida, 2015), and Langston Hughes and America Lynching Culture (University Press of Florida, 2011). He is a member of the North Carolina State University Research Leadership Academy, Academy of Outstanding Teachers, and Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Extension and Engagement. He has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the mayor of Rocky Mount named him an Honorary Citizen in 2017.  

Selected Publications

Langston Hughes

  • Miller, W. Jason, ed. Backlash Blues: Nina Simone and Langston Hughes. 2021. https://www.backlash-blues.com/.
  • Miller, W. Jason. Langston Hughes. Critical Lives Series. London: Reaktion, 2020.
  • Miller, W. Jason. Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015.
  • Miller, W. Jason. “‘Don’t Turn Back’: Langston Hughes, Barack Obama, and Martin Luther King, Jr.” African American Review 46, no. 2-3 (Fall 2013): 425-38.
  • Miller, W. Jason. Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
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