Earle Bryant was born in Philadelphia, PA, and raised in both that city and New Orleans. ("I'm half West Philly and half Seventh Ward," he is fond of saying.) He is a former seminarian, having studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood in the Josephite Order. He received his B.A. degree in English from Xavier University and earned his master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Dr. Bryant began teaching at UNO in 1978 and specializes in African American literature, American literature, and English Renaissance literature. During his many years at UNO, he has been the recipient of several teaching awards—the Amoco Award for Excellence in Teaching, for example, as well as the Metropolitan College's Professional Development instructor of the Year. He has also been twice selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, and in 1997 he was awarded the Louisiana Endowment for Humanities' Humanitarian of the Year Award in recognition of his work in adult literacy as part of the LEH's Prime Time Family Reading Time program. Moreover, in 2001 he was honored as a Seraphia D. Leyda University Teaching Fellow, one of the most prestigious awards a professor can receive. More recently, Dr. Bryant received the 2007 UNO Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as the 2016 Distinguished English Faculty Award.
In 1998 Dr. Bryant became the first coordinator of UNO's newly established Africana Studies program and a year later was appointed the university's first Africana Studies Endowed Professor.
His critical articles on Richard Wright, Charles Chesnutt, George Moses Horton, Bernard Malamud, and Ben Jonson have appeared in journals such as American Literary Realism, Black American Literature Forum, American Benedictine Review, Studies in Short Fiction, and The Explicator. His book on Richard Wright's journalism, titled Byline: Richard Wright, was published in 2014 by the University of Missouri Press. He is at work on a follow-up to that text.
As he sees it, teaching is not so much a job or a profession as it is a vocation, one that he loves passionately...almost as passionately as he does okra gumbo and erster (uh, oyster) po' boys and the Zulu parade.