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Col. James Stith

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Information about Col. James Stith

Profile image of Col. James Stith

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist
Academic Administrator
Colonel (Ret.)

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
Bad News Doesn't Get Better With Age.

Birthplace

Born:
7/17/1941
Birth Location:
Alberta, Virginia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist
Academic Administrator
Colonel (Ret.)

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Green
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
Bad News Doesn't Get Better With Age.

Birthplace

Born:
7/17/1941
Birth Location:
Alberta
See how Col. James Stith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Physicist and Retired U.S. Army Colonel James Stith was born on July 17, 1941, to Ruth Stith in Brunswick County, Virginia. Stith had three step-sisters—Wilma, Aldrena, and Joyce—and one half-sister, Juanita. Stith attended Oak Grove Elementary School and he graduated from James Solomon Russell High School in 1959. It was in high school that Stith decided he wanted to pursue a career in physics.

Stith went on to graduate from Virginia State College to earn his B.S. and M.S. degrees, both in physics, in the years 1963 and 1965, respectively. During his time at Virginia State College, Stith joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and worked as an instructor. In 1965, he was called to active duty in the U.S. Army for two years. Then, after a two-year term working with the Radio Corporation of America, Stith continued his education at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his D.Ed. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduation, Stith was recalled to active duty, and so he joined the faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1976, Stith became the first tenured African American professor at the United States Military Academy, where he continued to work until he retired from his post in 1993. Stith retired from the United States Military Academy as a full professor of physics and from the military at the grade of Colonel. Stith then worked as a full professor of physics at Ohio State University until 1998. Following his time at Ohio State University, Stith was hired as the vice president of the Physics Resource Center of the American Institute of Physics, a position he would hold for ten years. Stith also served on the board of the Triangle Coalition from 1999 to 2006, and he joined the advisory board for Project Kaleidoscope in 1990. Additionally, Stith has served on several advisory committees of the National Research Council throughout his career.

Stith has played an important role in increasing the role of African Americans in the physical sciences and has been recognized by the Academy for his work. In 1990, he was elected Vice President of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and in 2004 he was recognized as one of the “50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science.”

Stith is married to Alberta Hill, and they have three adult daughters: Adrienne Yvette, Andrea Lynn, and Alyssa Joy.

James Stith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2010.

See how Col. James Stith is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Col. James Stith's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith shares his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith shares his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes his mother's extended family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his family's farm
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the lack of a father figure in his life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his relationship with his stepsisters
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith reflects on his mother's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith describes his childhood home and chores
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith discusses the Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes his inquisitive nature as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith talks about his elementary school, part 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith talks about his elementary school, part 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his love for reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith remembers taking apart his family's clock
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith discusses the lack of exposure to science as a youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith recalls the effect of segregation in Brunswick County, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith describes James Solomon Russell High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith describes his high school experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith remembers his uncle, Theodore Stith
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his transition into high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith recalls his high school physics teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith recalls his teacher's advice to attend Virginia State College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his college transition
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his college professors and pledging for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Virginia State College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses the presidential election of 1960
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith recalls the loss of his family home and half-sister
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith discusses his graduate studies at Virginia State College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his teaching experiences after college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith talks about his military service in Korea
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith talks about his military service in Seattle, Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith describes his transition from the United States Army to civilian work and graduate studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith describes his graduate dissertation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith discusses his relationship with his graduate advisor, David Rank
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith talks about his search for a job after receiving his D.Ed. degree
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith describes minority population at the United States Military Academy in the 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith discusses the United States Military Academy's support of minorities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the "Black Officers at West Point"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes how he became tenured at the United States Military Academy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses the transition of the United States Military Academy to a co-educational institution
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith recalls his time at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith remembers his interactions with Daniel "Chappie" James
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith recalls his decision to leave the United States Military Academy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith describes his involvement with the American Association of Physics Teachers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith describes the growing interest and concerns in physics education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith discusses his work with The American Institute of Physics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith recalls his time in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Col. James Stith describes his philosophy for physics education
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Col. James Stith discusses his hopes and concerns for the black community in physics education, part 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Col. James Stith discusses his hopes and concerns for the black community in physics education, part 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Col. James Stith discusses the founding of the National Society of Black Physicists
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Col. James Stith reminisces over his life decisions
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Col. James Stith shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Col. James Stith reflects on his personal legacy in physics education
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Col. James Stith describes his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Col. James Stith reflects on his regrets and how he wants to be remembered