Historic Rugby Writer’s Series To Feature Dr. John Hodges On Feb. 18

Sunday, February 12, 2017
Dr. John Hodges
Dr. John Hodges
- photo by Michael Patrick

Historic Rugby kicks off a year-long series of writer visits on Saturday, Feb. 18, with a reading by John O. Hodges, Ph.D.

Dr. Hodges, a retired University of Tennessee Professor of Religious Studies, is the author of “Delta Fragments,” a book that recalls his childhood as a sharecropper in Mississippi. The reading will take place at 6pm Eastern Time in Rugby’s Harrow Road Café. Admission is free.

Dr. Hodges’ story is amazing. A sharecropper’s stepson, his stepfather talked to the landowner and suggested that the young John would not be very good in the fields. Instead, his stepfather would take on his share of the work, and let the youngster stay in school.  The result of this was extraordinary.

Dr. Hodges was born in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, where he attended segregated schools and graduated as valedictorian from Broad Street High School 1n 1963. He won a full-tuition scholarship to attend Morehouse College where he was an honor student and was selected as a Merrill Scholar to travel and study in Europe. As a student in Nantes, France, Hodges, acted in plays and passed various exams signifying fluency in French.

He received a Master’s degree in English from Atlanta University and a Master’s and PhD in religion and literature from The University of Chicago Divinity School. He taught in the English Department at Barat College where he also served as Chair of African American Studies. He accepted a position at the University of Tennessee in 1982 and worked there until his retirement from the Department of Religious Studies in December 2010. While at UT, he was recognized as an outstanding teacher by the UT National Alumni Association and has won several other awards including the Lorayne Lester Award for distinguished service to the university.

Hodges has traveled throughout Europe and West Africa and has lectured on African American religion in China. He has published articles in such journals as The CLA Journal, The Langston Hughes Review, Soundings, and The Southern Quarterly. He lives in Knoxville with his wife Carolyn, who is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School. They have one son, Daniel, who lives in Dallas Texas, where he works as a computer engineer. Dr. Hodges also volunteers his time to serve on the Historic Rugby Board of Directors, and narrated “The Spirit of Rugby,” a film celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Historic Rugby, Inc.

Dr. Hodges will read excerpts from his book and explain more about his experiences, in his own words.

Rugby, founded in 1880 as a British-American utopian village, is just off State Scenic Hwy. 52, sixteen miles southeast of Jamestown and 35 miles from either Interstate 40 or I-75 in western East Tennessee. To learn more, visit historicrugby.org. 


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