Bourbon at the Border dramaturgical research

I.  Biographical Information

Pearl Cleage (December 7, 1948-)
American poet, essayist, journalist, playwright & novelist resides in Atlanta, Georgia.  Cleage was born in Springfield, Massachusetts but grew up in Detroit where her father was a church pastor and played a prominent role in the civil rights movement, he ran for governor of Michigan in 1962 on the Michigan ticket.  Her mother was an elementary school teacher.  Cleage attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and majored in playwriting and dramatic literature.  In 1969 she moved to Atlanta and enrolled at Spellman College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in drama.  Later Cleage joined the Spellman faculty as a writer and playwright in residence and as a creative director.  In 1969 she married Michael Lomax, Atlanta politician and educator and the current president of the United Negro College Fund.  They divorced in 1979.  In 1994 she married Zaron W. Burnett Jr., writer and director for the Just Us Theatre Company.  She has one daughter, Deignan Njeri, from her first marriage.

Pearl Cleage worked at a number of media jobs including hosting a local, black-oriented interview program as well as being Director of Communications for the city of Atlanta and Press Secretary for Mayor Maynard Jackson.  She worked as press secretary and speechwriter in the 1970’s for Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of Atlanta.  Often writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Tribune.  Additionally she writes for Catalyst, a literary journal she co-founded and edited in her work as a faculty member at Spellman.   She actively works for AIDS, women’s rights, and black life.  Cleage received the Bronze Jubilee Award for Literature in 1983 and the outstanding columnist award from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists in 1991.

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