USC names 1st holder of childhood literacy chair

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- An African-American English professor specializing in children's literature and community literacy has been named the first holder of a chair honoring librarian and literacy pioneer Augusta Baker.

University of South Carolina officials say 45-year-old Michelle Martin of Clemson University is joining the faculty in August.

School of Library and Information Science director Samantha Hastings says the chair honors Baker, who came to South Carolina after a 37-year career at the New York Public Library. Baker was USC's storyteller in residence for 14 years who passed away in 1998. The chair is the first in South Carolina to be named in honor of a black female.

Martin heard Baker tell stories while living in Columbia in her youth. She says she relied on Baker's groundbreaking research for her own academic studies.

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