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Thomas Battle

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Information about Thomas Battle

Profile image of Thomas Battle

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Archivist
Cultural Heritage Chief Executive
Historian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Crab ( Maryland Blue)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
I Am Unbought And Unbossed.

Birthplace

Born:
3/19/1946
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Archivist
Cultural Heritage Chief Executive
Historian

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Crab ( Maryland Blue)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
I Am Unbought And Unbossed.

Birthplace

Born:
3/19/1946
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Thomas Battle is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Librarian, artist, curator, and historian Thomas Cornell Battle was born on March 19, 1946, at Howard University’s Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Thomas Oscar Battle and Lenore Thomas Battle. Battle attended Colonel Charles Young Elementary School, Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School, River Terrace Elementary School and Carter G. Woodson Junior High School. Battle graduated from William McKinley High School in 1964 while working at Mt. Pleasant Public Library. At Howard University, Battle was mentored by Loraine Williams and Rayford W. Logan and was influenced by Stokeley Carmichael, James Nabrit, Leon Damas, and Nathan Hare, among others. Battle was awarded his B.A. degree in history in 1968; he earned his M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland College of Information Studies in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in American studies from George Washington University in 1983. Battle’s dissertation was a bibliographical study of slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1972, advised by Oswald Person, Battle applied for and was hired as a reference librarian by Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, then under distinguished director, Dorothy Porter. During this period, Battle was granted a fellowship through the Black Caucus of the American Library Association to study in Sierra Leone for a year. Michael Winston was director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection as Battle became founding curator of the manuscript division in 1974; later, Battle became university archivist. In 1986, Battle was named director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Collection, the largest black owned archive of black history and culture in the world.

Committed to illuminating the lives of pioneer bibliophiles like Arthur Schomburg, Alexander Cromwell, and Jesse Moorland, Battle, with Paul Coates and Eleanor Des Virney Sinnette, authored Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History in 1983. The realization of Howard’s unique place in world history prompted the book, Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone co-authored with Clifford L. Muse, Jr. in 1995. Battle co-edited with Donna M. Wells on the 2007 work, Legacy: Treasures of Black History, which features more than 150 historic items including documents, letters, images, artifacts and articles by twelve scholars including: Joseph E. Harris, Greg Carr, James Turner and Deborah Willis.

Battle taught history at Howard University, the University of Maryland, and Amherst College. In 2006, the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (CLIS) presented Battle with the James Partridge Award.

See how Thomas Battle is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Battle's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's upbringing and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his early life experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Battles recalls his early education and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle remembers his early religious experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls his early interest in African American history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas Battle describes his extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas Battle remembers segregation in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Thomas Battle describes his experiences at Howard University
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Thomas Battle lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Thomas Battle recall graduating from Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the problems in the public schools of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle describes the student tracking system in Washington, D.C., pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls working at the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes the history of Federal City College in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the influential figures at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle describes his position at the Federal City College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle recalls enrolling at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle talks about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers the Black Power movement at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls the academic environment at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about his approach to learning
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls the student protests at the University of Maryland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his African American identity
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about President Richard Nixon's administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle remembers graduating from the University of Maryland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle recalls joining the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle remembers Dorothy Porter Wesley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center's collection
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle recalls the patrons of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle recalls serving as an exchange librarian
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle recalls arriving in Sierra Leone
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the national library in Sierra Leone
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes Sierra Leone's national library collection
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls meeting Sierra Leonean librarians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about the access to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about theft from libraries
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes the history of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle recalls returning from Sierra Leone
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle remembers Michael R. Winston
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his roles at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle remembers the faculty of Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle recalls his decision to attend George Washington University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle describes his doctoral dissertation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the history of African Americans in Washington D.C.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle recalls publishing his dissertation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle talks about the acquisition of materials by the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle talks about private collectors
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle talks about the collections of historically black institutions
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes Mayme Clayton's collection
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about his speaking engagements
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Black Bibliophiles and Collectors'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle describes the collectors of black artifacts
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle talks about African American historical collections
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about the misallocation of African American collections
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes his book, 'Legacy: Treasures of Black History'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle describes his challenges at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas Battle describes his favorite artifacts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas Battle describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas Battle describes his involvement in professional organizations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas Battle talks about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas Battle reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas Battle talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas Battle describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas Battle narrates his photographs