Hello! I’m E. Dolores Johnson, but go by my middle name, Dolores, because my parents couldn’t agree to call me by my first name, Ella. My creative non-fiction writing examines the evolution of race mixing through American history, with an eye to the accelerating browning of America.
That phenomenon has been my lived experience, as I was born during Jim Crow days to a black father and white mother. It has been a life that made me a constant observer of the place race mixing has occupied in our country’s attitudes, behaviors, laws and progress, and has become my current focus.
My essays and prose on inter-racialism have been published or are forthcoming in Narratively, The Buffalo News, Lunch Ticket, Pangyrus and the Writers of Color Anthology, and in guest blog posts. Writing honors include Finalist in the 2017 Fourth Genre Essay Contest and an invitation to read at the Boston Lit Festival/Four Stories program.
I’ve had the good fortune to be awarded creative writing fellowships at Resident Artist Programs including Djerassi, Blue Mountain Center, Ragdale Foundation, The Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Voices of Our Nation (VONA) and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA).
During those retreats into the time and space to think and write, my multigenerational memoir manuscript was developed, for which my agent is seeking a publisher. The story about my mixed race family is told against a reportorial look at America’s legal and social backdrop over seventy years. It is the journey of family secrets, separation, courage and confusion, chronicling how two generations of my family coped with lives of public and private rejection and dashed dreams because race mixing was unthinkable—and punishable by law—in mid-1900’s America. Decades later my millennial daughter comes to embody the growing American acceptance of mixed race in the twenty-first century.
My writing education includes the Grub Street Memoir Incubator one year intensive program and classes at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Prior to becoming a writer, I had a business education including a BA at Howard University, an MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business, and the INSEAD international management program in France.
In addition to my formal work life, I have been long committed to issues of racial equality. One avenue of contribution has been consulting on diversity for major corporations, universities, non-profits and think-tanks over the years, to encourage and further the hiring, development, retention and understanding of cultural differences for minorities.
Formerly, I worked as an international marketing executive, lived in France, and served as project director for creating the on-line archive of President John F. Kennedy’s papers. I’ve been a fund raiser, a rebuffed door-to-door census taker, a nurses’ aide and in high school was fired from the Five and Dime for making the wrong change. 2 cents worth.
Cambridge, Massachusetts is my home now, where I take advantage of the all-you-can-eat programming Harvard University offers the public, volunteer for social service programs and serve on institutional boards.