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Al-Tony Gilmore

Maker interview details

Profile image of Al-Tony Gilmore
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  • November 21, 2003


  • Category: EducationMakers
  • Occupation(s): Federal Education Administrator
    History Professor


  • Born: June 29, 1946
  • Birth Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina


  • Favorite Color: Navy Blue
  • Favorite Food: Seafood
  • Favorite Time of Year: Christmas
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

"The Guilty One Knows Who He Is."
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National education executive Al-Tony Gilmore was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Gilmore attended North Carolina Central University on an athletic scholarship to run track under coach Dr. Leroy T. Walker. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in American history in 1968 and 1969, and received his Ph.D in U.S. History with honors from the University of Toledo in 1972. While there he led a successful Black Student Union protest resulting in increased recruitment of Black graduate students and faculty, which he coordinated.

Gilmore served as a History Professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland, College Park, where, as a noted scholar of Black sports history, he developed the first college course examining the intersection of sports and society. In 1982, he was selected as Chief Consultant for the National Afro-American Museum of Ohio, and has served as consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the California State General Assembly, and the U.S. National Archives, among others. He has also served as a Visiting Scholar of History at The George Washington University, and is a Distinguished Historian Emeritus of the National Education Association (NEA). During his tenure at NEA, Gilmore served as Senior Program Officer, Manager, and Director of the NEA Archives. He developed the video "Honoring Our Legacy of Inclusion: The Merger of the NEA and the American Teachers Association."

Gilmore's scholarship includes his books, Bad Nigger: The National Impact of Jack Johnson; Revisiting the Slave Community; All the People: NEA's Legacy of Inclusion and Its Minority Presidents; The Biographical Directory of the Presidents and Executive Directors of the NEA and ATA; and A More Perfect Union. He also wrote the introductory essay to The Negro in Sports by Edwin Bancroft Henderson. His numerous articles and reviews have appeared in The New Republic, Huffington Post, Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and in anthologies and scholarly journals. He has contributed to PBS's African American Lives, Unforgiveable Blackness, and the Canadian History Channel's documentary on Jack Johnson.

He has served the Association for the Study of African American Life and History as a Program Chair, a member of its Executive Council, on the board of its journal, and is a Life Member. He has served on the Program Committee of the American Historical Association. Gilmore has also provided commentary for C-Span, and regularly for Sirius Radio's “Urban Views.” For Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration in 2009, Gilmore was selected as the historian to accompany the famed Tuskegee Airmen to the Inauguration platform. At his alma mater, North Carolina Central University, he established the Al-Tony Gilmore Endowed Scholarship Fund, and a Conference Room on campus was named in his honor.
Dr. Gilmore lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Beryl, a retired federal administrative judge. He has amassed one of the largest personal collections of vintage African American memorabilia. They are the parents of twins, Genevieve, a Human Resources Specialist, and Jack, an attorney.

Al-Tony Gilmore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 21, 2003.

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