Alaine Locke’s New Negro Anthology in TEI and MEI: A DEFCON Teaching Collaboration across Two Universities

Authors: Beshero-Bondar, Elisa Eileen / Brinkman, Bartholomew

Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2023, 2:15pm to 3:45pm

Location: Main Campus, L 2.202 <campus:measure>


In 2021-2022 the Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium (DEFCON) organized a mentorship program for professors to enhance their teaching of Digital Humanities.1 The coauthors are a DEFCON mentor and mentee whose regular conversations inspired pedagogical experiments. One of us specializes in teaching an undergraduate DH curriculum, while the other is introducing DH in the context of a literature course on the Harlem Renaissance. We each recognized that our teaching lacked something. The literature professor wanted to introduce students to TEI but did not have more than two or three weeks in a semester to attempt it. The coding professor had a semester to teach markup technologies but lacked time to explore poetry intensively. What if we could supply something the other lacked?

Four students from the DH coding class formed a project team that agreed to work for the co-author’s Harlem Renaissance literature class as their “clients” to create a new digital resource from Alaine Locke’s New Negro Anthology.2 We wanted the literature students to learn XML markup and see their markup visualized in an interactive website. We sought for the coding students to gain awareness of the complexities of poetic language and music, even as they programmed XSLT to make a static HTML-based web edition. The coding team learned MEI to digitize short bars of music in the anthology and make them playable on their website. Hosted freely on GitHub (, this digital teaching edition has room to grow and continue engaging students with poetry, music, and code.


  1. The coauthors wish to thank Roopika Risam and the DEFCON steering committee for organizing the generous collaboration and exchange opportunities of the DEFCON mentoring program. For more information see

  2. first published in 1925 and now in the US public domain. We started with a facsimile shared on the Internet Archive ( 

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