The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Charles D. Churchwell

Share on Social Media

Information about Charles D. Churchwell

Profile image of Charles D. Churchwell

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Library Administrator
Library Science Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Pork Chops
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
That's Murphy's Law.

Birthplace

Born:
11/7/1926
Birth Location:
Dunnellon, Florida

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Library Administrator
Library Science Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Pork Chops
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
That's Murphy's Law.

Birthplace

Born:
11/7/1926
Birth Location:
Dunnellon
See how Charles D. Churchwell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Library administrator and library science professor Charles Darrett Churchwell was born on November 7, 1926 in Dunnellon, Florida to Leeannah DeLaughter Churchwell and John Dozier Churchwell. After graduating from high school, Churchwell joined the United States Army, serving for two years in the U.S. and Philippine Islands. He obtained the rank of Sergeant 4th Grade while acting as his company's clerk. After returning from the armed forces in 1948, Churchwell attended Morehouse College and four years later, he received his B.S. degree in mathematics. Upon graduating, he became a reference assistant at the library of Alabama State College. In 1953, Churchwell graduated from Atlanta University with his M.L.S. degree with a focus on college and university library administration.

Churchwell became an instructor with Prairie View A&M College in Prairie View, Texas in 1954 where he met and married Yvonne Ransom. Two years later, he and Yvonne moved to New York City, New York so he could work as a reference librarian for the New York Public Library (NYPL). After only two years, Churchwell left New York for Illinois to study for his Ph.D. degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, becoming a librarian with the school in 1964. After publishing his thesis, entitled Education for Librarianship in the United States: Some Factors which Influenced its Development between 1919 and 1939, Churchwell received his Ph.D. in 1966, the first African American male to earn a Ph.D. degree from the university. The next year, Churchwell became the associate director of the libraries at the University of Houston, becoming the first African American to work for the university during a time of intense segregation. Churchwell became heavily involved with the Black Student Union during this time, working as a liaison during a controversial campus visit by Black Panther Bobby Seale.

In 1970, Churchwell became a professor of library science and director of libraries for Miami University in Ohio, where he redesigned and renovated the library. He moved to Brown University in 1974, working as the university librarian while publishing his book Shaping of American Library Education with the American Library Association (ALA). In 1978, Churchwell began working for Washington University in St. Louis as dean of library services and created a unique endowment to fund the library’s technological services. After nearly a decade in St. Louis, Churchwell became a tenured professor with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He spent the 1990s as dean of the School of Library and Information Studies for Clark Atlanta University, before retiring in 1999.

Churchwell passed away on September 19, 2018.

Charles D. Churchwell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 16, 2007.

See how Charles D. Churchwell is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles D. Churchwell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers his mother's house
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his father's birthplace and relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his father's occupation and illness
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his homes in Dunellon, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the Dunnellon School in Dunnellon, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the Second Bethel Baptist Church in Dunnellon, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the academics at the Dunnellon School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers preparing for college at the Dunnellon School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls joining the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell reflects upon his experiences in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his deployment to the Philippines
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell describes segregation in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his academic difficulties at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers Benjamin Mays' emphasis on education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers Benjamin Mays' opposition to segregation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his peers at Morehouse College, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his peers at Morehouse College, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls studying math at Morehouse College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the mentorship of Virginia Lacy Jones
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls working at the New York Public Library
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers the birth of his first daughter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls earning a Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls joining the University of Houston in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the advice of Dean Robert M. Downs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls directing the library at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers his transition to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his daughters' education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his son-in-law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls leaving the Brown University library
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls transitioning to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes his library directorship at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers helping his employees attend library school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls leaving Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls transitioning to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the digital library endowment at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles D. Churchwell remembers teaching at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his career at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles D. Churchwell recalls his career at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles D. Churchwell describes the Trevor Arnett Library in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles D. Churchwell describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles D. Churchwell narrates his photographs