McCrimon, Kay James
Kay James McCrimon
Kay James McCrimon is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, but was reared in Chicago, Illinois. A product of the Chicago Public School system, she is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois and Roosevelt University in Chicago.
She loves all aspects of African American history and culture, but her true passion is jazz. Kay‘s love for jazz music was inspired by her mother and grandmother, both great music lovers. The title song, “Li‘l Darlin” by Count Basie, is her mother‘s all-time favorite song, which is why she has such an affinity for it.
Kay‘s love of African American history has led her to a myriad of professional opportunities. Her career path has exposed her to positions in genetic medicine, broadcasting, advertising and special event planning. She is also an educator, historian, and researcher of African Americans in the fine arts, especially the 19th and early 20th centuries. Kay is currently Assistant Director, UIC African American Cultural Center.
“Goodnight Li‘l Darlin” is a book that was inspired by a culmination of Kay’s love of teaching, the arts, and family. But more importantly, she feels that if we do not make the arts available to children, then we are doing them a great disservice by not developing their full potential. The arts provide children with the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and depict the diversity of our world, its cultures, traditions and belief systems.
African American history is not just for African Americans; it is not just the history of a people, but the history of a nation. However, the responsibility remains ours as African Americans to keep this history alive by documenting it on film, writing it in books, and telling it through oral histories.