Meredith Gadsby

  • Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies
  • President, Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars


  • BA, Vassar College, 1993
  • MA, SUNY Binghamton, 1995
  • PhD, SUNY Binghamton, 2000


BBC Interview

The fate of a four-year-old fugitive in Ohio, BBC Arts - BBC Arts

Oberlin's Meredith M Gadsby explains how Toni Morrison inspired a slavery memorial.

Meredith Gadsby has several teaching and research interests, including:

  • international black literatures
  • literatures of the African Diaspora
  • black women’s writing
  • cross-cultural theories
  • migration studies

Much of her work focuses on issues of migration and identity. Professor Gadsby is president of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars.

Professor Gadsby’s research has taken her to Barbados, the United Kingdom, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Grenada.

At Oberlin, she teaches courses in African American, African and Caribbean literature.

Professor Gadsby’s first book, Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, and Survival, was published in July 2006 by the University of Missouri Press.

She also coedited the book, Decolonizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003), along with Carole Boyce Davies, Charles Peterson, and Henrietta Williams.

Spring 2024

Resistance and Voice: Literature of the African Diaspora — AAST 248
Intermediate Seminar: Research and Practice in Africana Studies — AAST 350

Fall 2024

Introduction to Africana Studies — AAST 101
Senior Seminar — AAST 450


Meredith Gadsby publishes chapter in scholarly volume on Black women’s health

April 30, 2021

Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies Meredith M. Gadsby's chapter, "Still Eating Salt: Teaching Toni Cade Bambara for the Sake of #BlackWomensWellness and Political Transformation," was published in Rethinking Gender, Culture, and Health: Perspectives from Africa and The African Diaspora (Gouldline and Jacobs Publishing, 2020). This volume creates the space for scholars, health professionals, and development experts from three continents to engage in a vibrant discussion about the complexities of Black women's health in Africa and the African Diaspora; particularly the intersection of gender, race, class, age, culture, ethnicity and nationality. Gadsby's chapter focuses on the importance of radical self-care for Black women activists, a timely discussion as we experience international movements in defense of Black lives headed by Black women. Toni Cade Bambara's novel reminds readers of the importance of inclusive conversation about the unique emotional and wellness needs of Black women. For students, this novel is instructive in imaging feminist futures that destigmatize mental health and wellness in communities of color.  

Meredith Gadsby on Panel of International Scholars Celebrating the Life and Work of Toni Morrison

February 9, 2021

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies Meredith Gadsby has been invited to participate in a panel discussion that will explore the “powerful and lasting influence” of Toni Morrison. "Toni Morrison at 90" will take place at Cornell University on February 18, Toni Morrison's Birthday. The panel of international scholars will discuss how Morrison’s scholarship and art have impacted writers, critics, and readers, and why her work still feels so fresh and vital today.

Meredith Gadsby among authors, poets, and scholars celebrating Toni Morrison in ‘Bluest Eye’ reading

September 18, 2020

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies Meredith Gadsby joins scholars from around the country as well as authors Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tayari Jones, Edwidge Danticat, and U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to celebrate Toni Morrison as Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences hosts a livestreamed reading of her first novel, “The Bluest Eye.”

The Oct. 8 livestream will include more than 80 other readers in a full reading of the novel on the 50th anniversary of its publication. Participants will also hear portions of the book read in French, Spanish, Portuguese and German. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be livestreamed on eCornell, as well as on Facebook. The public can register to attend “The Bluest Eye” event, and people are encouraged to listen to the entire reading or join in at any point during the day.

For more information on all of the Cornell Celebrates Toni Morrison events, visit the Arts Unplugged website


Meredith Gadsby Joins Board as a Civic Member

March 27, 2020

Meredith M. Gadsby joins the board of the Fund for Our Economic Future (FFOEF) as a Civic Member. FFOEF is a funding alliance made up of more than 40 organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing economic growth with equitable access to opportunity for the people of Northeast Ohio.

Meredith Gadsby Attends Celebration of Toni Morrison's Life and Legacy

November 7, 2019

Meredith Gadsby, associate professor of Africana studies and faculty liaison, Toni Morrison Society, attended a Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Toni Morrison at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) on November 6, 2019. Morrison, Nobel Prize Laureate, novelist, literary and cultural critic was honored for her profound contributions to the arts, culture, and the humanities. Keynote speaker Dr. Marilyn Sanders-Mobley, a founding member of the Toni Morrison Society, reminded guests of Morrison's brilliant explorations of human experience and most of all, her "profound love for Black people." LCCC students Jason Jordan and Toni McClinton expressed great pride in their research on Morrison, feeling deeply connected to her story of growing up in Lorain, Ohio.  A short documentary showed her commitment to elevating that history by embedding places from her hometown in her novels. Jewon Woo, associate professor of english at LCCC, guides her students through Morrison's work, leading their research on her representation of the intimate lives of Black communities in the Midwest. Professor Emerita Marilyn Valentino and Denise M. Douglas, dean of social sciences and human services, hosted a diverse audience that included members of Morrison's family. 

Toni Morrison Society Provides Letter of Support for Resolution

November 6, 2019

On November 1, 2019, the Senate passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to honor the life, work, and legacy of Toni Morrison, one of America’s most formidable scholars, educators, and authors. Meredith Gadsby, associate professor of Africana studies and comparative American studies and faculty liaison for the Toni Morrison Society, took part in providing a letter of support from The Toni Morrison Society. The bill passed unanimously on the first vote.

November 6, 2019, State Representative Stephanie Howse (Cleveland, D-11) introduced House Bill 325 to designate February 18 "Toni Morrison Day." 

Meredith Gadsby Invited to Write and Edit Journal Issue

May 22, 2019

Meredith M. Gadsby was invited to edit a special cluster issue in the Journal of The African Literature Association about the scholarship of Carole Boyce Davies. Gadsby will write the introduction and anchor article.

Shelley Lee, Yveline Alexis, Meredith Gadsby, and Gina Perez Co-Author Op-Ed

January 3, 2018

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies, Yveline Alexis, assistant professor of Africana studies, Meredith Gadsby, associate professor of Africana studies, and Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, co-authored the op-ed “Selective Compassion: The US Approach to Haitians Hasn’t Changed in Hundreds of Years” in Truthout.

Meredith Gadsby Gives BBC interview for Documentary on Toni Morrison

July 24, 2015

Associate Professor of Africana Studies Meredith Gadsby was interviewed by the BBC for a documentary on author Toni Morrison. In the interview, Gadsby relays the tragic story of Lee Howard Dobbins, a 4-year-old fugitive slave who died after he made the journey to Oberlin, and explains the inspiration for Morrison's Bench the Road project. Gadsby is the faculty liaison for the Toni Morrison Society. The clip can be viewed here:


Oberlin College Establishes Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity in Response to National Distress

August 28, 2020

President Carmen Twillie Ambar and Oberlin College announced today the launch of the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity in response to increasing injustice and racial tensions in America. The Presidential Initiative will elevate and advance Oberlin’s more than 180-year commitment to the education and rights of Blacks in America, and will provide the framework for faculty and students to address issues of violence, police-community relationships, and racial injustices.