Ohio University

Professor jw Smith to discuss recent book at Authors @ Alden series

Published: October 29, 2020 Author: Morgan Spehar

Ohio University Libraries will virtually host Dr. Carolyn Bailey Lewis and Dr. jw Smith for its Authors @ Alden speaker series on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.

Smith, who is a professor in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University, will be speaking about his book “From the Back of the Bus to the Front of the Classroom.” Published in 2019 by Monday Creek Publishing, the book details Smith’s experience as a black and blind professor. 

He has been teaching at the University level since 1983, giving him more than 30 years of experience to talk about. Smith, who won 2004’s Educator of the Year Award from the National Federation of the Blind and the 2007 NAACP Image Award for Research and Teaching, mentioned that his Authors @ Alden talk will likely contain many personal anecdotes and stories from his book.

“I think I’d like to pick two or three of my favorite stories,” he said, “and tell them as exemplars of my academic journey.”

Dr. Carolyn Bailey Lewis, emerita in the School of Communication Studies, will interview Smith for the Authors @ Alden talk. The two will discuss how being a black and totally blind individual has impacted Smith during what might have otherwise been unremarkable encounters. 

Smith said that the talk will also discuss his somewhat unique writing process, which he said people often ask him about. He emphasized that the talk will be accessible for a broad audience and is for anyone who wants to tune in.

“Everybody loves a good narrative, loves a good story,” he said, “and certainly those in academia may be interested. And since I talk about issues of race as well, some people of color might find it interesting to see how some of my stories have been impacted by my race and ethnicity.”

He emphasized that “only in America” would his story be possible. 

“It was really through hard work and consistent positive support and strong faith that I was able to deliver this book, so I guess my big takeaway is I’m no different than anybody else, no more special, and I am just blessed to be in this country and have this opportunity, and the love and support I’ve had through the years made this possible,” he said. 

Click here to watch Dr. Smith’s Authors @ Alden talk on Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. No registration is required for this free event. 

To request accessibility accommodations or for more information, contact Jen Harvey at harveyj1@ohio.edu