Susan Diane Mitchell was born in Washington, DC, the first child of student parents attending Howard University in the 1960s. Growing up for her formative years in the nation’’s capital, surrounded by a culturally rich and excellent education, Susan continued her path in Oakland, California, matriculating in both the finest public and private schools in the area. Ecology, community service, and creative thinking were key principles of her education. The love and sacrifice of her mother and family for her education prepared her well, and upon receiving an Honors Program scholarship, Susan graduated Bishop O’Dowd Catholic High School and left the Bay Area to study at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985.
After majoring in English and Spanish for three years, becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Eta Kappa Chapter, co-founding a chapter of Amnesty International, and participating as a SAGE Writing Intern, Susan transferred to Jacksonville State University for greater family support in1989. In 1991, Susan graduated with Special Honors in English and gained a graduate assistantship to study English and American Literature at University of Alabama at Birmingham. After an interruption, she eventually returned to the program and under the mentorship of Dr. Virginia Whatley Smith, PhD, finished a MA in English and American Literature, focusing Black Women’s Literature, with a thesis committee review of High Pass in 2006. With a lifelong love of learning, Susan has also pursued doctoral studies in Transformative Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies (2013-14), and has plans to complete her doctoral and postdoctoral studies. Her exposure to the cultural theories of organic and creative inquiry deeply inform her worldview, and inspire her visionary work as an artist, writer, thought leader, and community educator.