Randal Jelks was teaching at Calvin College when we spoke. And we spoke twice..I realized that the first time there were some questions I neglected to ask. So I begged his indulgence and he was kind enough to sit again.
These days, Dr. Jelks teaches at the University of Kansas. Here is his biography:
Randal Maurice Jelks is an awarding-winning Professor of American Studies and African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA), McCormick Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Michigan State University (Ph.D.).Jelks has authored two award-winning books: African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids (The University of Illinois Press, 2006), which won the 2006 State History Award, University and Commercial Press, Historical Society of Michigan and Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press 2012), winner of the 2013 Lillian Smith Book Award and the 2013 Literary Award, Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Jelks has most recently written Faith and Struggle in the Lives of Four African Americans: Ethel Waters, Mary Lou Williams, Eldridge Cleaver and Muhammad Ali (Bloomsbury, January 2019). He has participated in The Oxford Conference for the Book, University of Mississippi; South Florida Book Festival; Southern Book Festival (Nashville), appeared on C-Span, and written op-eds in media outlets around the country. He is currently researching and writing several other books Additionally, Jelks serves as an executive producer of documentary I, Too, Sing America: Langston Hughes Unfurled directed by academy-award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Kevin Willmott.
Here is the first interview:
And here is the second: