Ronda Racha Penrice
A lifelong interest in African American history and culture has served Ronda Racha Penrice well in her extensive career. As an English and history major at Columbia University, she challenged herself academically by tackling big topics like African American female missionaries to Africa, the Race Riots of 1919 and the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison.
Her interest in African American literature aided her tremendously as a contributing editor at The Quarterly Black Review of Books, a game-changing publication that coincided with the Black publishing renaissance of the mid-1990s that made Terry McMillan, Walter Mosley and E. Lynn Harris household names.
Following a brief stint at New York University where she pursued individualized course study focused on the works of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, the Chicago native headed to Mississippi, from which her family hails, to pursue Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, adding Ernest Gaines to her “writers of interest” list. But it would be popular culture where Penrice would make her biggest mark.