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Earl Lewis

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Information about Earl Lewis

Profile image of Earl Lewis

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
History Professor
Academic Administrator
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Blue Crab
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
We Serve As, Rather Than We Are, Before Titles

Birthplace

Born:
11/15/1955
Birth Location:
Norfolk, Virginia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
History Professor
Academic Administrator
Foundation Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Blue Crab
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Favorite Quote:
We Serve As, Rather Than We Are, Before Titles

Birthplace

Born:
11/15/1955
Birth Location:
Norfolk
See how Earl Lewis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Foundation president, historian and academic administrator Earl Lewis was born in 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia. Lewis attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he graduated in 1978 with his B.A. degree in history and psychology. After graduating from Concordia College, Lewis enrolled in the University of Minnesota and received his M.A. degree in history in 1981. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Minnesota.

In 1984, Lewis was hired as an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Then, in 1989, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an associate professor of history and African American and African Studies. One year after his arrival at the University of Michigan, Lewis was appointed as the director of the university’s Center for African American and African Studies. He became a full professor of history and African American and African Studies in 1995, and a faculty associate in the Program in American Culture. In 1997, Lewis was promoted to interim dean of the University of Michigan’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, Lewis became the vice provost for academic affairs for graduate studies and dean; and, in 2003, he was appointed the Elsa Barkley Brown and Robin D.G. Kelley Collegiate Professor of History and African American and African Studies. Then, in 2004, he was hired as both provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and as the Asa Griggs Candler professor of history and African American studies at Emory University. Lewis was Emory University’s first African American provost and the highest-ranking African American administrator in the university’s history. In 2013, he left Emory University and assumed a new role as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Lewis has edited, authored or co-authored seven books. They include the 1991 monograph In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, 2000’s To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans, 2001’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White, and 2004’s The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present. Lewis is also the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and has served on several academic and community boards, including the American Historical Review, Council of Graduate Schools, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Science’s Board on Higher Education and the Workforce, and the Center for Research Libraries. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.

Earl Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2013.

See how Earl Lewis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earl Lewis' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis shares his memories of his father, Earl Lewis, Sr.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes how his parents met and his father's death
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes the importance of education in his maternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandmother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes his maternal grandfather's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about the churches his family attended
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis shares his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis recalls the diversity of his childhood neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis reflects on the opportunities he had as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis describes how his mother took care of him and his brother after their father died
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood responsibilities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes his experience attending Crestwood Elementary, Junior High, and High School in Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his experiences of racism at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes integrating the Key Club at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his mother's experience as a teacher at an integrated elementary school in Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his initial impressions of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the black community at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and why it has diminished
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes his experience studying psychology and history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes his experience at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about overcoming his ambivalence about an academic career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about his friends and mentors in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about being hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the reception of his doctoral thesis and his book, "In Their Own Interests"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis describes what his dissertation taught him about the history of his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis describes the research methods he used on his dissertation at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis describes the quantitative study of social history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes interviewing at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his mentors at the University of California, Berkeley and publishing his first book
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about his conflict with Henry Lewis Suggs after the publication of his first book
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes his decision to leave the University of California, Berkeley for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the University of Michigan's Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in 1989
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about his experience directing the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about publishing "The Young Oxford History of African Americans"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis talks about his interdisciplinary approach to African American studies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the work of one of his students, Merida Rua, and how the study of African American history has changed
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis talks about writing his book with Heidi Ardizzone "Love on Trial," pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis talks about the response to "Love on Trial"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the structure of "Love on Trial"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about his approach to publication
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about balancing his administrative obligations with his teaching, publishing, and family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about his family and divorce from Jayne London
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his role in the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the importance of the University of Michigan's affirmative action cases
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the presidents of the University of Michigan during his tenure
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis describes becoming Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes his experience as Provost of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Earl Lewis talks about the diversity of staff and faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Earl Lewis talks about leaving Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Earl Lewis talks about becoming President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about the financial problems faced by universities
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis describes his plans for promoting diversity and performing arts through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis talks about the future of African American studies departments, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on how race and his childhood affected his first book, "In Their Own Interests"
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Earl Lewis describes the problems facing African American historians in the academy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Earl Lewis talks about other organizations that fund the arts, sciences, and humanities
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Earl Lewis shares his views on the future of the humanities
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Earl Lewis reflects on his life's journey, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Earl Lewis reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered