Faculty Name

Alma Billingslea-Brown, Ph.D.


Professor Emerita






Ph.D., University of Texas
M.A., Atlanta University
A.B., Rutgers University


Alma Jean Billingslea, professor emerita of English, is founding faculty and former director of the African Diaspora and the World program at Spelman College. Her professional interests include African-American and African Diaspora studies with emphasis on comparative Africana literatures, expressive and material forms of African-American folklore, border theory and civil rights biography. With travel and faculty exchanges in the Caribbean, South America and Africa, professor Billingslea has taught at University of La Salle in Bogota, Colombia, conducted research at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana at Legon and has been the recipient of Fulbright and Ford Foundation Fellowships. 

She has published articles in national and international journals as well as a book length study of black women writers and visual artists titled, Crossing Borders through Folklore: African American Women’s Fiction Art. A veteran of the Southern civil rights movement, professor Billingslea’s current research is focused to conceptions of freedom, social justice and human rights by the field staff members who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Professor Billingslea received the A.B. degree from Rutgers University, the M.A. from Atlanta University and the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Research Interests

Comparative Africana Literatures, 20th Century African and African American women writers, African Diaspora Studies, Civil Rights Biography


Crossing Borders through Folklore: African American Women’s Fiction and Visual Art. University of Missouri Press 1999.

Articles and Book Chapters
“Selma: the Bridge and Beyond.” The Shadow of Selma. University Press of Florida. Forthcoming February 2018.

“Toni Morrison’s Performance of the Word in Song of Solomon: The Folkloric, The Fantastic and ‘Some Old Folk’s Lie.’” Toni Morrison: Memory and Meaning. The University Press of Mississippi 2014.

“New Codes of Honor and Human Value in Bessie Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather.” South Atlantic Review 75.2 (2010): 85-93.

“Problematizing Home: Cottage and Courtyard, Roads and Highways in Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Dilemma of a Ghost.” Cyber Literature: A Bi-Annual Journal of English Studies. 19-20. 1-2 (2007): 19-23