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Robert Bullard

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Information about Robert Bullard

Profile image of Robert Bullard

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Environmental Activist
Sociologist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
And justice for all.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1946
Birth Location:
Elba, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Environmental Activist
Sociologist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
And justice for all.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1946
Birth Location:
Elba
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Biography

Environmental activist and sociologist Robert Bullard was born on December 21, 1946, in Elba, Alabama, to Myrtle and Nehemiah Bullard. He was the fourth of five children. Growing up in Alabama during the 1950s, Bullard experienced the effects of a segregated community. After graduating from high school, Bullard went on to attend the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. He received his B.A. degree in history and government with a minor in sociology in 1968. He continued his education at Atlanta University, where he earned his M.S. degree in sociology in 1972. During his graduate studies, Bullard started his work in urban planning and went on to complete his Ph.D. program at Iowa State University in 1976.

After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Bullard moved to Texas to teach at Texas Southern University. It was in Texas that Bullard met his future wife, Linda McKeever. In 1978, Bullard was asked by Linda to collect data for a lawsuit, Bean v. Southwestern Waste Corporation she had filed in federal court involving the placement of garbage facilities in mostly black Houston neighborhoods. This was the first lawsuit that charged environmental discrimination using federal civil rights laws. This inspired Bullard to learn more about careers in the environmental field. After Texas, Bullard taught at universities in Tennessee and California before returning to his alma-mater, Clark Atlanta University, where he was named the Edmund Asa Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. In this position, Bullard was able to do research and actively pursue the issue of environmental justice.

Bullard has been a pioneer in the field of environmental justice. Among his many accomplishments, Bullard helped to organize the 1991 National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, the first meeting of its kind where various minority groups could discuss the problems associated with environmental justice. Just a few years later, he was instrumental in President Clinton’s signing of Executive Order 12898, the first legal document that defined the need for environmental justice in the United States. For his continued research on contemporary cases of environmental justice and his active presence in the community, Bullard has been called the “Father of Environmental Justice.” Bullard has delivered many presentations and he has written over fifteen books detailing his research and perspectives on environmental policy. A selection of his works include: Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality, Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots and Race, Place, and Environmental Justice after Hurricane Katrina.

Among the many awards that Bullard has received is the American Sociological Association's William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award in 2007. He was also named one of Newsweek’s thirteen “Environmental Leaders of the Century,” in 2008.

Robert Bullard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 12, 2011.

See how Robert Bullard is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Bullard's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard shares his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard talks about his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard recalls his mother's childhood neighborhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard talks about his mother's education and her career aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard discusses his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard talks about his family's land in Elba, Alabama, part 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard talks about his family's land in Elba, Alabama, part 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Bullard talks about his family's land in Elba, Alabama, part 3
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Bullard discusses his father's family background and career aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard talks about his parents and siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard describes his childhood in Elba, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard describes the sense of ownership in Elba, Alabama, his childhood community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard describes his elementary school and high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard talks about his favorite school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard talks about his childhood activities and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard remembers his father's interest in the news
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard shares his perspective on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard discusses the conditions of his segregated high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard describes his black high school teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard remembers his high school principal
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard recalls his high school extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard recalls his high school aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard describes his decision to attend Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard recalls his experiences at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard relates the lack of involvement of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Bullard remembers the Black Power Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard describes the reaction of students at Alabama A&M University to the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard talks about being drafted into the United States Marine Corps
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard talks about serving in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard discusses his decision to pursue graduate studies at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard recalls what drew him to Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard talks about his mentors at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard reflects on the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois in sociology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard discusses his decision to study sociology at Iowa State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard discusses his graduate dissertation at the University of Iowa
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard describes his career at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard talks about his book, "Invisible Houston"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard discusses the black communities of Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard talks about landfills in black neighborhoods in Houston, part 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard talks about landfills in black neighborhoods in Houston, part 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard explains the relevance of his work in both civil rights and environmental protection
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard discusses the impact of his work in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard discusses his teaching positions at the University of California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard talks about his book, "Dumping in Dixie"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard discusses the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard describes the environmental justice movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard talks about environmental justice and the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard discusses the need to fight cases of environmental injustice
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Bullard discuses the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Bullard talks about creating the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark-Atlanta University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Bullard emphasizes the connection between health and the environment
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Bullard describes working with other environmental groups
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Bullard compares the effects of different political administrations on environmental justice
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Bullard shares his plans for his future
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Bullard reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Bullard discusses the status of his family members
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Bullard describes how he would like to be remembered