Africana Studies

McKinley E. Melton

Kermit O. Paxton and Renee A. Paxton Endowed Teaching Chair & Associate Professor




Campus Box 0397


Breidenbaugh Hall
Room 314C
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


BA Duke University, 2004
PhD University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012

Academic Focus

20th and 21st Century African American Literature

McKinley E. Melton earned his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Prior to joining the Gettysburg College faculty, Dr. Melton was a visiting assistant professor of literature at Hampshire College from 2007-2012. He is also the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. Most recently, Dr. Melton was awarded a 2019-20 Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies, in order to support a year as scholar-in-residence at the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University.

Dr. Melton's research--including his current book project, Claiming All the World as Our Stage: Contemporary Black Poetry, Performance, and Resistance--focuses primarily on the relationship between cultural, political, and spiritual traditions and Black diasporan literary and artistic expressions.  Dr. Melton's active scholarly agenda also includes published essays on the work and writing of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Danez Smith, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Melton's teaching focuses primarily on 20th Century African American and African diasporan literatures and his courses are designed to engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literatures. Recently offered courses include:

  • AFS 130 - "Introduction to African American Studies"
  • FYS 149-3 - "Black Superheroes in American Popular Culture: From Nat Turner to Netflix"
  • ENG 250 - "Literature of the Civil Rights Movement"
  • ENG 252 - "Renaissance, Resistance, and Revolution: 20th Century African American Literature"
  • ENG 262 - "Contemporary African American Literature"
  • ENG 263 - "Voice and Visibility: African Americans and the Power of Spoken Word"
  • ENG 350 - "To Illuminate the World: James Baldwin in Fiction and Essays"
  • ENG 362 - "Blackness and the Rainbow: LGBTQ African American Literature"
  • ENG 378 - "I've Got a Testimony: Autobiography in African American Narrative"
  • ENG 403 - "The Holy Bible and African American Literature and Culture"