Yarborough, Richard A.


Kaplan 201
Tel: 310.825.2914 / Fax: 310.267.4339 / E-mail



B.A., Michigan State University, 1973

Ph.D., Stanford University, 1980



Professor Yarborough teaches and conducts research on a wide range of issues relating to African American literature and to U.S. literature and culture more broadly. Particular topics on which he focuses in his classes and scholarship include African American literature before World War I, the representation of slavery in American culture, black writers and radical politics in the U.S., and the construction of race in American film and popular music.


Honors and Awards

Darwin T. Turner Distinguished Scholar Award for Outstanding Contributions to African American Literary Study, 2016.

UCLA Academic Senate’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award, 2014

First annual Richard Yarborough Award in Mentoring, American Studies Association, 2012

County of Los Angeles Commendation, October 9, 2001

City of Los Angeles Commendation, June 4, 1990

UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, 1987


Selected Publications

“James David Corrothers and Henry Demarest Lloyd: Black Poet and White Patron in 1890s Chicago.”  Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance: New Negro Writers, Artists, and Intellectuals, 1893-1930.  Ed. Richard A. Courage and Christopher Robert Reed.  Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2020.  78-93.

With Frances Smith Foster, eds.  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs.  2nd ed.  New York: W. W. Norton, 2019.

“His Foot in the Door That Slavery Built: History, Symbol, and Resistance in Gaines’s Of Love and Dust.”  Approaches to Teaching Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Other Works.  Ed. John Wharton Lowe and Herman Beavers.  NY: Modern Language Assoc., 2019.  115-27.

General Editor, The Library of Black Literature series, Univ. Press of New England (formerly published by Northeastern Univ. Press), 1988-2014. Winner of the 2002 African American History Award by the Boston Museum of Afro-American History.

Associate General Editor, with Paul Lauter (General Editor), John Alberti, Mary Pat Brady, Kirk Curnutt, Daniel Heath Justice, James Kyung-Jin Lee, Wendy Martin, D. Quentin Miller, Bethany Schneider, Ivy T. Schweitzer, and Sandra A. Zagarell. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 7th ed., rev. Boston: Wadsworth-Cengage Learning, 2014.

“William Attaway.” Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance. Ed. Steven C. Tracy. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2011. 30-52.

With Dianne Pinderhughes. “A Changing Political Context: The Pinderhughes, Yarborough Report.” Inclusive Scholarship: Developing Black Studies in the United States. New York: Ford Foundation, 2007. 159-229.

“Violence, Manhood, and Black Heroism: The Wilmington Riot in Two Turn-of-the-Century African American Novels.” Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy. Ed. David S. Cecelski and Timothy B. Tyson. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1998. 225-251. Rpt. in Chesnutt, Charles W. The Marrow of Tradition. Ed. Werner Sollors. 1901. NY: W. W. Norton, 2012. 313-337.

Introduction. Uncle Tom’s Children. By Richard Wright. 1940. New York: Perennial-Harper Collins, 1993. ix-xxix.

“Race, Violence, and Manhood: The Masculine Ideal in Frederick Douglass’s ‘The Heroic Slave.'” Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays. Ed. Eric J. Sundquist. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990. 166-188. Rpt. in Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts. Ed. Anne Goodwyn Jones and Susan V. Donaldson. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1997. 159-184.


Selected Film, Theatre, and Television Projects

Scholarly Advisor and Featured Commentator, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne, a film documentary by Kirk Marcolina and Matthew Pond, 2012-13.

Featured Commentator, “Novel Reflections of the American Dream,” produced by WNET-TV (New York) and broadcast as part of the American Masters television series, PBS, 2007.

Dramaturg, House Arrest, a play by Anna Deavere Smith, in workshop at the Mark Taper Forum, 1998; and at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, Harvard Univ., 1998.

Scholarly Advisor, The Josephine Baker Story, a film produced by Home Box Office, 1989-90.


Recent Classes


African American Detective Fiction

African American Fiction in the 1960s

The American Political Novel

Early African American Literature

The Harlem Renaissance


African American Literature and the Left

The Literature of Slavery and Abolition

Post-Reconstruction/Pre-Renaissance: African American Literature at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

The Harlem Renaissance

African American Fiction in the 1960s

Interest Areas
• African American Literature & Culture / Black Diaspora Studies