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Born in Upstate South Carolina, Glenda Bailey-Mershon is a Romani-American poet, essayist, and novelist. She has explored in writing her mixed heritage. Her published works include a novel, Eve's Garden (Twisted Road); a forthcoming poetry collection entitled Weaver's Knot: Poems (Finishing Line Press) and two chapbooks––Bird Talk: Poems (Wild Dove) and saconige/blue smoke: Poems from the Southern Appalachians (Jane's Stories Press Foundation). She also published the well-used A History of the American Women's Movement: A Study Guide, and edited four volumes of the Jane's Stories anthologies by women writers, including the immigration anthology, Bridges and Borders. She has worked with writers from around the world and read to many audiences.
After earning a degree in anthropology from Knox College and graduate degree in community planning from Governors State University, Glenda began helping local communities to unearth long-buried stories. She earned an Award of Merit from the Illinois Historical Society for her pioneering work in using oral methods to compile a history of Park Forest, Illinois, one of the first post-World War II planned communities. She consulted on numerous other local histories and wrote and carried out two grants from the Florida Humanities Council for historical collections focusing on the African-American Lincolnville community in St. Augustine, Florida. One of her efforts resulted in a film called Somebody Started Singing that was written, directed, and filmed by teenagers chronicling the evolution of the St. Augustine civil rights movement. With Barbara Henry Vickers, she directed the Roots & Flowers project, gathering photographs and oral history accounts of a Black community that began with the first European invasion of American territory.
Her political organizing has focused on combatting racism and achieving women's rights as well as economic and environmental justice.
She retired as Assistant Director of the Public Policy Analysis PhD. Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also completed post-graduate work in History and Women's Studies and served in the Women's Studies Teaching Collective. At the college level, she has taught anthropology, political science, and creative writing.
A strong woman with a fierce love of family and freedom, with a little bit of learning,
can shake up the world.
Glenda Bailey-Mershon Biography