Melba Joyce Boyd is a Distinguished University Professor and currently the Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, which is also where she earned her Doctor of Arts in English in 1979. She holds a B.A. and a M.A. in English from Western Michigan University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany in 1983-4, and a Visiting Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China in 2009. She was a professor at the University of Iowa, Ohio State University and Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Michigan—Flint.
She is a filmmaker, biographer, editor and author of nine books of poetry. Her last collection of poems, Death Dance of a Butterfly, was published in 2012, received the 2013 Library of Michigan Notable Book Award for Poetry. Her book, Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall (2009), won the 2010 Independent Publishers Award, the 2010 Library of Michigan Notable Books Award, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award and the ForeWord Book Award for Poetry. Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press received a 2004 Honor Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her bio-critical book, Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911 (1994) was widely reviewed and praised by literary critics and historians. She is also the author of 65 essays on African American literature and film, and is the editor of the African American Life Series at Wayne State University Press.