University of Iowa Writers Workshop – James Alan McPherson.
Over a thirty-year period, James Alan McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, found plenty of “elbow room” for both himself and others while teaching at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. McPherson won the Pulitzer in 1978 for his collection of essays entitled, “Elbow Room,” but because of his color, and the fact he was living in Virginia, he was not allowed to fully celebrate his achievement.
In 1979, McPherson moved to Iowa City, beginning his 30-year run as a professor at the Workshop, and here, he found plenty of “elbow room,” saying this about our city:
I have many friends here: black and white and other … I am confident that here, I am first of all a person, a human being. I have been accepted into the life of the community. I have open and free access to what in this community has meaning and value.
This week (2021), Iowa City will celebrate renaming Creekside Park in his honor.
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