Nellie Y. McKay

Nellie Y. McKay photo

Book Cover Image of Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay by Shanna Greene BenjaminNellie Y. McKay (May 12, 1930 – January 22, 2006) was a pivotal figure in contemporary American letters. The author of several books, McKay is best known for coediting the canon-making Norton Anthology of African American Literature with Henry Louis Gates Jr., which helped secure a place for the scholarly study of Black writing that had been ignored by white academia.

However, there is more to McKay's life and legacy than her literary scholarship. After her passing, new details about McKay’s life emerged, surprising everyone who knew her. Why did McKay choose to hide so many details of her past? Shanna Greene Benjamin examines McKay's path through the professoriate to learn about the strategies, sacrifices, and successes of contemporary Black women in the American academy. Read more in Nellie Y. McKay’s 2021 biography, Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay

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4 Books by Nellie Y. McKay