Cheryl A. Wall, a Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey died on April 4. She was 71 years old.
Professor Wall focused on African-American literature, American literature, and feminist criticism. She first joined the faculty at Rutgers University in 1972 and had planned on retiring this year. During her time at Rutgers, she served as chair of the English department, co-founder of the Rutgers English Diversity Institute, and was active in the Institute for Women’s Leadership. Dr. Wall was the founding board chair of the Crossroads Theater Company, the first Black theater group in New Jersey, established in 1978.
Professor Wall was the author of several books including Women of the Harlem Renaissance (Indiana University Press, 1995) and Worrying the Line: Black Women Writers, Lineage, and Literary Tradition (University of North Caroline Press, 2005).
Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University, said in a statement that “we are profoundly saddened by the death of this amazing scholar, teacher, and citizen of the university. Cheryl Wall represented the very best of Rutgers: a world-class intellect whose scholarship advanced the conversation about African American literature and whose teaching and guidance inspired her students to think in new ways.”
Professor Wall was a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C. She earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University.