By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Students at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach are becoming published authors.
History professor Raphael Jackson is publishing his students' works in books. Dr. Jackson has been at the institution for eight years.
"Jackson Temple" was published in December 2012. It is comprised of poems, essays and short stories written by the students.
"You will find an array of everything. It's amazing of the outpouring of the students and what's on their mind. It's unpredictable," Dr. Jackson said.
In addition, Dr. Jackson is hoping to motivate students to become authors.
"I want the students to know that they can go out and do it themselves. They don't have to go out and find publishers. I want them to have the pride and know that they can do this for themselves," he said.
"Jackson Temple" is the second book done by Dr. Jackson and his students. In 2010, "Jesus was Born in Brooklyn" was published.
Both books are published by lulu.com, an online publishing company. "Jackson Temple" can be purchased for $13 at lulu.com.
The titles of the books come from the way Dr. Jackson conducts his classes.
"Students find my classes interesting. When they miss class they ask other students what I discussed? One day a student asked me where I was from. I told them that I'm from where Jesus is from. One day a student wrote that on the board. That's where the first title came. The second title came about because I often conduct my class in a manner of a church service. The students are African-American and can relate. That's the second book's title," he said.
Dr. Jackson is a poet himself, but he is doing this for the students.
"I'm a closet poet. I haven't put anything in the books. I am just focusing on the students and I will do mine later," he said.
The books have received warm receptions thus far.
"We have had a lot of good response, especially from the poetry community in Daytona, Orlando where some of the students and authors have performed at poetry events around the area. The books are also known nationally," Dr. Jackson said.
He likes the reaction the students get from having their works published.
"That's why I do it. A lot of times we do not promote our children. When I first asked the children for some of their writings, many didn't respond. During the publishing process, which takes up to a year, many students forgot what they wrote. When the book comes out and they see their writing they are ecstatic," Dr. Jackson said. "Some students have had professors tell them that they cannot write, but the professors themselves haven't written anything that has been published themselves."
Students also feel a sense of pride from having their writing in the book.
"It was a first time experience and a shocker. I am still in awe. It is unexpected. You don't think about it being published but I am proud. I'm glad it happened," Eugene Smith said.
Mr. Smith is a history major at B-CU. He wrote an essay called "Realm."
"It is about experiences that African-Americans had coming here from slavery and how our society has evolved since through technology, social life, social networks and things of that nature," Mr. Smith said.
Dr. Jackson has learned a lot from his students from doing the books.
"These are some of the most gifted and talented as well as most overlooked individuals in our nation's society," he said.
There are more books coming up in the near future.
"We have another in the planning. It will be translated from English to Portuguese. It will also have works from poets from Salvador, Brazil. It is a Herculean task, but we can do it," Dr. Jackson said.