BETHANY, W.Va. – The executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Bethany College recently received an Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant for literature.

Dr. Tahirah J. Walker, who also is an assistant professor of communications and media arts, received $15,000 to support “Black Book Lady,” a literary arts organization that builds on the artist’s experiences as a writer, mother, and beloved daughter.

Walker arrived at Bethany in the fall as the college’s first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion from the University of Pittsburgh where she served as the manager of learning design and teaching and learning consultant.

Walker is an award-winning writer of works in a number of genres, including poetry and memoir essays. She has written for outlets such as, Pitt’s University Times, and Salem Press’ Critical Insights series. She is also the creator of a Pittsburgh-area initiative designed to celebrate the literary arts of women of color and support young writers.

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh is a joint effort of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. In 2020, the program awarded $456,000 to individual artists and art programs.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.