To the editor:
There were significant omissions in the articles on Chancellor Hemenway and the list of his accomplishments (Journal-World, Dec. 9). Building on his scholarly achievements, especially his foundational work in African-American literature and 20th century biography, the chancellor was highly instrumental in bringing outstanding minority faculty to Kansas University on Langston Hughes Visiting Professorships and in supporting those faculty who were offered tenure-track positions. The Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship rotates among departments at KU to bring prominent scholars to campus who share Hughes’ interests. It was established in 1977 to honor the late poet, playwright and historian who lived in Lawrence as a child.
The chancellor also was an important partner in the Langston Hughes centennial events in January and February 2002 and in the establishment of the Langston Hughes Center at KU. The center, founded in 1998, coordinates teaching, research and outreach activities in African-American studies, and the study of race and culture in American society.
Chancellor Hemenway has not only promoted minority faculty and student enrollment but also helped bring Lawrence citizens together in projects such as the Lawrence Public Library’s new oral history Web site. This project, which grew out of the Hughes centennial celebration, will feature more than 40 interviews with members of the Lawrence/Douglas County African-American community and span our rich 150-year history. He has helped this community gain a larger understanding of those who have gone before and who are, in various ways, an integral part of the fabric of this community.