Elaine Richardson grew up in a poverty-stricken area of Cleveland, Ohio, to her Jamaican mother and American father. Being raped at 13, she became involved with what basically amounted to the same abusive boyfriend over and over again. Ensnared in teenage sex-trafficking, later she became a young woman trapped in a cycle of abuse, drugs, alcohol, unwanted motherhood, and a dangerous lifestyle. Desperate for a new life, she goes to college and becomes interested in language, literacy and identity studies. Her story is about going from the streets to undergraduate and graduate experiences to earning a Ph.D., hence the title.
Author of three books, and co-author of three others on academic studies of American Black-language patterns, Elaine Richardson has taught at both The University of Minnesota, and The Pennsylvania State University before returning to her home state in 2007 to accept a tenured professorship in Literacy Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University and pen the story that will encourage others to take their rightful places in the world.
Dr. Richardson belongs to a network of Hiphop educators and activists and is the founder of The Ohio State University’s Hiphop Literacies Conference, as well as the founder of a gender-focused club for teenaged girls, focusing on literacy education in Columbus, Ohio. She is also a recording artist and performer, using her voice on behalf of those who may be down, but not out!