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Clayborne Carson

African American history professor Clayborne Carson was born on June 15, 1944 in Buffalo, New York to parents Clayborne Carson and Louise (Lee) Carson. He grew up near Los Alamos, New Mexico. Carson attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied history and graduated with his B.A. degree in 1967, his M.A. degree in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in 1975.

Prior to academia, Carson worked as a laboratory assistant at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, an editor for Audience Studies, Inc., a staff writer for the Los Angeles Free Press, and a computer programmer in the Survey Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the faculty of the history department at UCLA as an acting assistant professor in 1971, before being hired as assistant professor at Stanford University in 1974. Caron was promoted to associate professor at Stanford University in 1981. In 1985, Coretta Scott King requested that Carson became senior editor of an ongoing multi-volume project, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Carson was promoted to professor of American history in 1991, and became founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute in 2005. Carson’s academic appointments outside Stanford University include teaching and lecturing in Great Britain, France, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania; as well as visiting professorships at the American University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Emory University.

Carson contributions include works of fiction and non-fiction, documentaries, and other creative productions. His most notable scholarship includes, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1998) and In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960’s (1981). He served as senior advisor for the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) fourteen-part documentary series “Eyes on the Prize”; and as historical advisor for the motion pictures “Freedom on My Mind” (1995), “Chicano!” (1996), and “Blacks and Jews” (1997). Carson, along with Roma Design Group, created the winning proposal in an international competition to design a national memorial for King in Washington, D.C.; and he authored “Passages of Martin Luther King” (1993), a docudrama.

As a member of professional organizations, Carson has been considerably active throughout his career. Those affiliations include: the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the Social Science History Association (SSHA), the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASAALH), and the Southern Historical Association. In 1995, Carson received the OAH Frederick Jackson Turner Award for, In Struggle: . In addition, he served as an Andrew Mellon Fellow at Stanford University, the Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations at Duke University, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Carson lives with his wife, Susan Ann Carson, who until her retirement was the managing editor of the King Papers Project, in Palo Alto, California. They have two children: Malcolm Carson, an attorney; and Temera Carson, a social worker.

Clayborne Carson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.257

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/7/2013 |and| 12/12/2015

Last Name

Carson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

First Name

Clayborne

Birth City, State, Country

Buffalo

HM ID

CAR27

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/15/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Stanford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

African american history professor Clayborne Carson (1944 - ) served as professor of American history at Stanford University, senior editor of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., and as founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.

Employment

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Audience Studies, Inc.

Los Angeles Free Press

University of California, Los Angeles Survey Research Center

University of California, Los Angeles

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

American University

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Stanford University

Emory University

L'Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales

Morehouse College

Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

Favorite Color

Blue

Robert Lee Harris, Jr.

Professor Robert L. Harris, Jr. was born on April 23, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois to Robert and Ruby Harris. Growing up in Chicago, Harris attended St. Finbarr Elementary School and St. Philip High School. He graduated with his B.A. degree in history in 1966, and then his M.A. degree with honors in history in 1968; both from Roosevelt University. Harris went on to receive his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1974.

Harris was hired as a sixth grade teacher at Chicago’s St. Rita Elementary School in 1965. Then, in 1968 and 1969, he worked at Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama, as an instructor of social science. In 1972, Harris was hired as an assistant professor of American history at the University of Illinois, where he taught until 1975. He went on to work as an assistant professor of African American history at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University from 1975 until 1982, when he was promoted to associate professor. Harris also served as the director of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University from 1986 until 1991, and then as special assistant to the provost of Cornell University from 1994 through 2000. He then was named vice provost for diversity and faculty development in 2000, and served in that position until 2008.

In 2004, Harris was promoted to full professor of African American history at Cornell University, and, in 2010, he was again hired as director of the Africana Studies and Research Center. In 2013, Harris was made both a graduate school professor of African and African American Studies and professor emeritus of African American history, American studies, and public affairs.

Harris authored Teaching African-American History, published by the American Historical Association, in 2001. He also co-edited The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939, which was published in 2006. In all, Harris has written thirteen individual book chapters, thirty scholarly articles, and eight dictionary entries. He has served on boards and committees of numerous organizations, including the De Witt Historical Society of Tompkins County, the New York Council for the Humanities, the American Historical Association, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for History Education, and the National History Center. Harris also served as the president of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History from 1991 until 1992. He has been awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. Harris also received the James A. Perkins Prize in 2000 and the Cook Award in 2008 from Cornell University. In 2003, he was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Scholar’s Medallion for Distinguished Research, Writing and Activism from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Harris is also National Historian for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Robert L. Harris, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.287

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2013 |and| 10/24/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Roosevelt University

Northwestern University

St. Finbarr School

St. Malachy School

St. Philip Basilica High School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAR44

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

I Believe I Can Fly.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/23/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Short Description

African american history professor Robert Lee Harris, Jr. (1943 - ) taught at Cornell University for over thirty-five years, and served as the director and vice provost of Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center.

Employment

St. Rita Elementary

Miles College

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Cornell University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. narrates his photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Lee Harris, Jr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather's pipe

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his parents' careers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his father's shoe repair business

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his sisters

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his parents' decision to enroll him in Catholic school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the redlining of the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the wealth gap in the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the achievement gap in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris Jr. recalls the political climate in Chicago, Illinois during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his involvement in boys clubs

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his early interest in history

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his activities at St. Philip Basilica High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his visits to the segregated South

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the death of Emmett Till

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his early aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the faculty of Roosevelt University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the faculty of Roosevelt University, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his decision to pursue an academic career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls the start of his teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his master's degree thesis

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the influence of Malcolm X

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers the uprisings of 1968 on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his teaching experiences at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris Jr. recalls his graduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his dissertation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Lee Harris, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls his graduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the findings of his dissertation

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls joining the faculty of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his teaching experiences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon his time at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the regional differences in racial categories

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the historical accounts of the Civil War

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the Dunning School

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls joining the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the scholarship of Stanley M. Elkins

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the scholarship on slavery

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the changing perceptions of slavery

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon the impact of Alex Haley's 'Roots'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. recalls writing the study guides for 'Roots'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his scholarship on H. Ford Douglas

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his career at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers John Henrik Clarke

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his scholarship on African American historiography

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his article, 'The Afro-American Classics: The Essential Library'

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the contributions of historian George Washington Williams

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his anthology contributions

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his academic textbook, 'Teaching African American History,' pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his academic textbook, 'Teaching African American History,' pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon the impact of President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the employment opportunities in technological fields

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his career at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his current scholarship, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about his current scholarship, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about African American representation in the workforce

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his hopes for African American youth

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the changes to the Africana studies program at Cornell University, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the changes to the Africana studies program at Cornell University, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about the field of Africana studies

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. talks about 'The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his advice to aspiring historians

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes his advice to African American studies scholars

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers attending international conferences

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$8

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Robert Lee Harris, Jr. remembers his early work experiences
Robert Lee Harris, Jr. describes the changing perceptions of slavery
Transcript
The people who lived in the house before we purchased it left this buggy, it was like a twin buggy; and I used to go to the A and P [The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company] on Saturday and I would deliver groceries. And given that I had this twin buggy, I had this big--I mean most guys had the Red Flyer little wagon, I had this big buggy, put the groceries in, deliver them.$$So grocery delivery was kind of a job that the young boys, I mean boys would do in the neighborhood [North Lawndale, Chicago, Illinois] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah you pick up a few dollars. I mean, you know, you get fifty cents, a dollar maybe to go with the woman who had bought her groceries. I mean these were black and white initially, but the neighborhood was, was pretty safe. I also had two paper routes. I--in a way in my family there was this go get them, entrepreneurial spirit. And so I had two paper routes. I delivered newspapers and at that time I delivered newspapers, I also picked up the money; you know, people paid each week for their newspaper. Sometimes you'd get tips. During the wintertime I would shovel snow, I'd go and I'd ask people, "You need me to shovel your--your sidewalk?" I, later when I was in about, where was I, I was about seventh grade 'cause I--I started working for my father [Robert Lee Harris, Sr.] in high school [St. Philip Basilica High School, Chicago, Illinois], or maybe eighth grade. But I worked in this grocery store, I stocked the shelves and what have you in the grocery store. And this was basically a Jewish neighborhood. The store owners were Jewish. There's one day of the year, I can't remember what it is where Jews are not supposed to handle any money. And so when I first started working at this store, or maybe I told my mother [Ruby Watkins Harris] about this, because he wanted me, that, the guy who owned the grocery store, he wanted me to handle all the money that day. But my--no, no, this--no, this was some--this was earlier when I first started working at the store, that's right. When I first started working in the store my mother said to me, 'cause my mother also did what they call day work sometime, housework, cleaned up white folk's homes, which also created problems in her retirement because there was no social security taken out, you know, from her--her pay. But my mother told me, she said, "Son, when you start working in that store," she said "maybe not the first day, but there's gonna be a day when he's gonna leave some money around you." She said, "Don't touch it." I was working for about three days and the guy--they lived in the back of the store. He said he had to go to the restroom, and so he went to the back of the store to go to the restroom. And so--let me also say, I should back up just a little bit, 'cause my mother said, "He's gonna leave some money around you, don't--don't touch it." I said, "Oh, momma, what are you talking about?" She said, "Boy," now I knew she's serious, she said, "don't touch any money." So he goes to the washroom. I look down by the cash register, there's a twenty dollar bill on the floor. My mother's words are, you know. I'm like afraid of that twenty dollar bill, I don't want to go near it. And when he came back, I immediately said, "There's a twenty dollar bill on the floor." He said, "Oh, it must've fallen from the cash register." I passed his test. And as I explain to students, I could've robbed the man blind after that. See you know, it was Langston Hughes who talked about the ways of white folk ['The Ways of White Folks']. We knew their ways more so than they knew our ways. But that was an important lesson that my, my mother taught me.$I know this is a big discussion, Eugene Genovese's 'Roll, Jordan, Roll' ['Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made']--$$Right.$$--and the writings of Leon Litwack and Ira Berlin and others--$$Yeah.$$--writing about slavery.$$Yeah.$$And I know John Clarke [John Henrik Clarke] said at one of the meetings [of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History] that, you know, Blassingame [John W. Blassingame] had the only book written by an African American about the slave experience at that time.$$Well, you know, this is something that puzzled me as a graduate student and then as a beginning assistant professor. We wrote more--and I was one who fell into this category as well, we wrote more about those African Americans who were free than we did about those who were enslaved. In part, that was to justify racial equality in a way; to show that we did have individuals of merit, of achievement, okay. We had very few novels about the period of, of slavery. It's only more recently like with Toni Morrison's 'Beloved,' and a, a number of other novels that have come out that have addressed, have dealt with--. It--it's, it's one of the things if you look at the Jewish American population, there's more work that has come out on the Holocaust I would say in the last twenty, thirty years then had been published before. It was something that, in a way, I--well, I'm just gonna be--speak for African American--I think we were shamed of enslavement. And we had to reach a point, the Civil Rights Movement freed us in a number of ways and one of the ways, with the Civil Rights Movement, with the notion that we had achieved, and I don't want to say that we had achieved racial equality, but we achieved some semblance of racial equality, that freed us up in many ways to look at our past, to look at the tragedies as well as the triumphs. Before the late 1960s, we wanted to look more at the triumphs. In fact, people talk about Carter G. Woodson basically writing contributionist history--showing the contribution that African Americans made to development of American society and again, justifying, saying that we deserve rights as citizens of the United States.$$Yeah, I think you're right. The name 'The Negro in Our History' [Carter G. Woodson] for instance?$$Yeah, yeah. So this was something that, I think, the Civil Rights Movement, the 1964--well, let's say '63 [1963], '64 [1964], '65 [1965] freed us up to really encounter our past in ways that we had not encountered our past before.

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

African American history professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham was born in Washington, D.C. in 1945. Her father, Dr. Albert Neal Dow Brooks, was the secretary-treasurer for the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and editor of the organization’s Negro History Bulletin; her mother, Alma Elaine Campbell, a high school history teacher who later served as the supervisor for history in the Washington, D.C. public school system. Higginbotham received her B.A. degree in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1969 and her M.A. degree in history from Howard University in 1974. She went on to receive a certification in Archival Administration and Records Management in 1975 from the U.S. National Archives, and a certificate in quantitative methodology in Social Science in 1977 from the Newberry Library in Chicago. She went on to earn her Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Rochester in 1984.

From 1969 to 1971, Higginbotham taught American history and served as an eighth grade counselor at Francis Parkman Jr. High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She then moved to Washington, D.C. where she taught American history and social studies at Woodrow Wilson High School. After working briefly as a manuscript research associate at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University from 1974 to 1975, Higginbotham served as professor of history at several institutions, including Dartmouth College, the University of Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania. Higginbotham joined the faculty at Harvard University in 1993 as a professor of Afro-American Studies and African American Religious History. In 1998, she was named the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and African American Studies. In 2006, Higginbotham was appointed chair of Harvard University’s African American Studies department; and, in 2008, she served as acting-director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Higginbotham was appointed as the Inaugural John Hope Franklin Professor of American Legal History at Duke University Law School.

Higginbotham is the author of Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church: 1880-1920 (1993). She also updated and revised the late John Hope Franklin’s African American history survey From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans (2010). Higginbotham served as the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Guide to African-American History (2001), and was co-editor, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the expanded, twelve-volume The African American National Biography (2012).

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH) honored Higginbotham with the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion in 2008 and the Living Legacy Award in 2012. She was awarded the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History from the American Historical Association and the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Award from the Association of Black Women Historians. In 2011, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Howard University. Higginbotham is a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and was chosen by Harvard University to be a Walter Channing Fellow in 2003.

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.007

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/25/2013

Last Name

Higginbotham

Maker Category
Middle Name

Brooks

Schools

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

University of Rochester

Slowe Elementary School

MacFarland Middle School

Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School

Howard University

First Name

Evelyn

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HIG06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

6/4/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

African american history professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (1945 - ) served as the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and African American Studies and chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Employment

Francis Parkman Jr. High School

Woodrow Wilson High School

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Simmons College

Harvard University

Dartmouth College

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Harvard University Guide to African-American History

Duke University Law School

Favorite Color

Earth Tones, Olive Green, Rust

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her mother's career in education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham lists the schools where her mother taught

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her paternal grandmother's adoptive father, James Henry Holmes

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her father's social network in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her paternal great-grandfather, Albert Royal Brooks

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes Virginia's role in the domestic slave trade

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about the trial of Confederate President Jefferson Davis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her paternal great-grandparents' civic contributions

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her paternal grandfather's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her paternal relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her grandfather's pastorate of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about Nannie Helen Burroughs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her paternal grandfather's social activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes the importance of churches in the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her paternal grandfather's progressive politics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her father's education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham lists her mother's professors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her father's career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her parents' courtship

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about her siblings and maternal grandmother

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes the places she lived in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham remembers the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham remembers segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her early education in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham talks about the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her father's role in the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham remembers her family's vacations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham recalls her early interest in history, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her early aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham recalls her early interest in history, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her coursework at Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her likeness to her parents
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham describes her early aspirations
Transcript
I think I may know the answer to this already, but when you think about your parents' personalities, their proclivities, their sense of humor, how they walk, talk, how they look, who do you think you take after the most?$$I look like both of them, I actually do. I look like--when I was growing up, I used to think I looked like my father [Albert N.D. Brooks]. One of the reasons is that I'm tall and the Brooks men are tall and he was like 6'3", and as I was growing up, I always thought I looked like him but as I got--and my mother used to always say, "You look just like your father." But as I've gotten older, I definitely look like my mother and, and I know I look like my mother because people who haven't even met me have sometimes said to me, I got on a, I remember in D.C. [Washington, D.C.] on an elevator and the man said, "Are you Elaine's [Elaine Campbell Wells] daughter?" (Laughter) So, yeah, I look like both of them. I take after, personality wise, more my father. Now it's interesting, and this I think has something to do with me again. But my father was a, as I told you, he was a scholar, he was very committed to, he wrote a lot of those articles in there but he was so playful. He was such a playful person. My mother was not the playful one. In fact, she was the older, emotionally, of the two of them, so he might have been older in years but she was clearly the more mature. So, he was much more of a, a fun person. You know, so even when he's taking me to the, you might say, well going to the association [Association for the Study of Negro Life and History; Association for the Study of African American Life and History], you know, which was Woodson's [Carter G. Woodson] home, actually, after Woodson died, he just turned this thing--going to there on a Saturday, I wouldn't think that was playful, but it was, I mean, it was actually fun going there with him, you know. So he was--and just a, he had a sense of humor. He had a looseness about him, and my mother was much more, you know, I don't know, maybe it's the Jamaican part of her, I don't know, but she was more, much more conscious of having things right, and having things--. I remember when we were young, growing up in Washington, my sister [Elaine Brooks] and I, they used to have something called debutante balls. Now we went to public schools all the way, but they had debutante balls and my mother and father were in clubs. It was a really big thing in D.C., these social clubs, and they played bridge and they were very much, you know, social people. And so, there were these debutante balls and my mother went to my father and she said, you know, "The girls need to come out, to be deb- ." He just said, "Absolutely not; we're not about that." So he was very clear about where we were, what we were supposed to be doing with our lives. And, you know, so you think about a teenager who had friends who were going to these balls, I never wanted to do this kind of thing. You know, it, when he was, "Absolutely not," I never took it as a challenge to what I wanted to do. I was right there with him: "Absolutely not; this is not what we're about," you know. So I, I, I know I get my personality from him.$So here's one of my eighth grade stories. When I was in the seventh or eighth grade, it must have been the eighth grade, because we stayed in high--junior high [MacFarland Junior High School; MacFarland Middle School, Washington, D.C.] to the ninth grade, it switched like right after I left but I used to take Latin and I had a white teacher, she's a very good teacher and we were on a track system. And so we had an honors track, a regular track, a general track and a basic track. So the honors were for people who, you know, were really, I guess, smart kids, and the regular was for people who were--I mean, I'm sorry, academic, that's what it was called, academic track, was for people who were going to go to college. And the general was for people who probably wouldn't go to college but maybe would get vocational skills and the basic was for people who, I think, they saw as pretty much unskilled workers, okay. So, I'm in the eighth grade and I love Latin, so my Latin teacher tells me that there is a young woman who is in the general track and she takes, she's finished one year of Latin and I finished, I'm finishing two years of Latin, and this girl is finishing one year of Latin and she's saying, or she's had a semester, I forget how it goes, but whatever this woman said, she said to me, "If she doesn't take whatever that next year of Latin is, she won't be able to go to high school in the academic track. So, could you teach her Latin over the summer?" So I was thirteen years old, I taught this girl Latin over the summer. This girl was smart so it was more than just my being a teacher but I knew when I taught her--well actually I used to teach my dolls, I just knew I wanted to be a teacher (laughter). You know how you have a calling, it was my calling. But my first human subject was Wythea [ph.], that was her name, she was my, my little student. And she came back and she was so glowing. I made such a great impression on that Latin teacher. I could have asked that teacher for anything, but she was, it was my first real feeling that I knew this was my calling.$$Now that's so sweet, taught your dolls (laughter).$$I taught the dolls. I tell my students now, I can teach anybody. I can teach somebody who's in--I mean, I haven't really done elementary school but I always say, there's no concept that you can't teach somebody. Now you go in more depth, but there's no concept that you can't teach somebody so you can teach somebody who's, you know, a genius, or you can teach somebody who is in junior high school, but they can learn it. They don't learn it with the same amount of complexity but they can learn it. And I think it helps because when you teach, and I, well, you know, I've taught in a lot of different places so be--at one point in my life, I was teaching at the University of Maryland, College Park [University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland], and they had such a range of students. I mean, I had students who were as smart, if not smarter, than any student here [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and then I had students who were--especially some of the athletes, could barely read. I mean they were, when I taught at Maryland, I think my daughter [Nia Higginbotham] was in the fourth grade, she was reading better than some of them. So, but you still have to teach them.

Thomas C. Holt

Historian and scholar Thomas C. Holt was born on November 30, 1942 in Virginia. Holt attended and graduated from segregated schools in southside Virginia. He went to work for the SNCC during the Civil Rights Movement in his hometown, Danville, and in Cambridge, Maryland in 1965. He graduated from Howard University with his B.A. degree in 1965 and his M.A. degree 1966. Following that, Holt worked for a federal antipoverty programs trying to change the living and working conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers until 1968. Holt began his teaching career at Howard University in 1972 and in 1973, he received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Holt taught at Howard University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Berkley before becoming a professor at the University of Chicago in 1988. Holt is the University of Chicago's James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African-American History. Over the course of his career, Holt has published the following books: Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina during Reconstruction (1979), The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor, and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938 (1992), and The Problem of Race in the 21st Century (2000). Holt also co-wrote Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Post-emancipation Societies (2000) with Rebecca J. Scott and Frederick Cooper.

In 1978, the Southern Historical Association awarded Holt the Charles S. Sydnor Prize for his work on racial politics in the post- emancipation American South in Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina during Reconstruction. Holt also received the Elsa Goveia Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians for the same book. In 1987, Holt received the Presidential Initiatives Award from the University of Michigan under President Harold Shapiro. In 1990, Holt received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur "Genius Grant." President Clinton appointed Holt to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1994 to 1997. Holt worked as a fellow in the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 2003, Holt was elected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Holt sat on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern History from 1983 to 1986 as well as the editorial board for the American Historical Review from 1986 to 1993. In 1999, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and served until 2002.

Thomas C. Holt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 27, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.027

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/27/2010 |and| 5/1/2018

Last Name

Holt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Yale University

Howard University

Southside High School

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Danville

HM ID

HOL14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Normandy, France

Favorite Quote

Those Who Expect To Get Change Without Struggle Are Like Those That Expect Crops Without The Rain.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/30/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

African american history professor Thomas C. Holt (1942 - ) was the James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African American History at the University of Chicago. Holt was most known for his work on race, labor and politics in post-emancipation societies.

Employment

University of Chicago

University of Michigan

Harvard University

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas C. Holt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the conflict between his paternal grandfather and father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his father's involvement in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his parents' small family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his activities at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers an influential teacher at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his early exposure to black popular culture

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the black barbershop in his community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt recalls the debate team at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt describes his theater involvement at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his interest in literature at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the administration of Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his involvement in SNCC, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his involvement with SNCC, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the March on Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his arrests during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the March on Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his academic experiences at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the protests against the administration of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commencement address at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the summer of 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his civil rights activism in Cambridge, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his master's degree program at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his Ph.D. degree program at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his interaction with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt recalls the divisions within the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt shares his research on the black community in South Carolina during Reconstruction

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt remembers joining the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research on emancipation in the British West Indies

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas C. Holt's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt describes the Morant Bay rebellion

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about Afro-Jamaican activists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt describes the importance of support for newly formed independent countries

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt remembers being recruited to teach at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes Howard University and Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt remembers the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case of 1978

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his contemporaries at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt describes the emergence of African American studies departments

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt talks about student enrollment in African American studies courses

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Thomas C. Holt explains the mission of the African American studies discipline

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his research on the Freedman's Hospital at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt recalls his tenure appointment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt talks about African and African American studies professors

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt describes his courses at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt talks about disinvestment from South Africa at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt explains why he left the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research and other African American professors in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research on Ida B. Wells and the history of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the biographies of historical black figures

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt explains his writing process

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt describes the historical context behind the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes the historical context behind the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the African American contribution to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his research assistants

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt describes his research on W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his grants and fellowship awards

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the reception of his book, 'The Problem of Freedom, Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain'

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his appointment as president of the American Historical Association, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt remembers his appointment as president of the American Historical Association, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about historical organizations

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt remembers William H. McNeill

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt describes his fellowship at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his publications

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the work of a historian

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the image of African Americans in popular culture

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon race in the United States

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon race in a global context

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his book, 'Children of Fire: A History of African Americans'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the work of John Hope Franklin

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the work of past historians

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the organization of his book, 'Children of Fire: A History of African Americans'

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Thomas C. Holt reflects on the administration of President Barack Obama

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Thomas C. Holt speculates on how historians will receive the administration of President Barack Obama

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Thomas C. Holt talks about how accessibility to resources has changed over time

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Thomas C. Holt talks about the development of research and fact finding

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon his favorite work

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon the life and career of W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his favorite African American historical figures

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Thomas C. Holt describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his family

Tape: 12 Story: 10 - Thomas C. Holt talks about his current projects at the time of the interview

Tape: 12 Story: 11 - Thomas C. Holt reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 12 - Thomas C. Holt describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Thomas C. Holt remembers an influential teacher at Southside High School in Blairs, Virginia
Thomas C. Holt remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commencement address at Howard University
Transcript
So, you know, you take that back to the public schools, there was a lot of caution on the part of teachers and the ones who didn't, stood out. Like my history teacher, who also taught civics, I remember very distinctly, took us, his class, and this was my senior year, to, you know, as part of our civics instruction, to see a trial in the court over in town, in Danville [Virginia]. And, you know, it's very interesting because the first time I've been in a courtroom, I hadn't gotten in trouble so I hadn't been in court and, of course, it's segregated because, you know, blacks sat on one side and whites on the other and I remember asking him, I said, you know, why, you know, why we all just sitting over here. I mean, it's interesting that I in fact posed the questions since I've lived all my life in a segregated society but somehow in the, it's like the [U.S.] Army thing, you know, in the court, somehow didn't expect it to be different and so I actually got up and walked over and sat in the white side and he was very nervous, but he was also very proud. I mean, he was an interesting guy and then, of course, the, the, what do you call them, the bailiff or whatever, came over to me and said, you know, you can't sit here, you need to sit over there. So I got up and went back but I was testing it and he was, you know, said, "I'm glad you tested it." But, you know, that was unusual. I mean, most of my teachers probably would have jumped out of their skin at that, you know, they get into trouble and be reported back to the principal and maybe the superintendent of the schools or something like that. He also took us to, I mentioned the, the suit about the public library, he took us to federal court to, you know, to observe one of the sessions of, where they, the case was being argued about this suit. So, so part of my education, that was part of my education more than, more than big assemblies or any more explicit kind of program in the school itself [Southside High School, Blairs, Virginia]. It's in these kind of, I don't know, you might call them insurgencies where, you know, especially around this particular teacher who would, you know, in the context of what would be ordinary, you know, field trips but, of course, they were, what was involved in them was the beginnings of the attacks against Jim Crow.$$Okay, was this a teacher, Hennet [ph.], the one you were talking about?$$Yeah, Hennet, and Hennet was interesting because, actually, yeah, another part of it is, as I think about this and I remember it, I had him early on, probably, I think, world history or something in which I remember one of the, his lectures that I remember most vividly was when he was describing Hannibal crossing the apps--Alps and he was, you know, very animated and, you know, this was just, I was just fascinated, you know, with this idea of, this black general, you know, attacking Rome and so forth. Then he went off, he got a Fulbright [Fulbright Scholarship] and went to Nigeria and while he was in Nigeria, he actually wrote me letters about his experience, very extensive letters about Africa and so forth and so that was a bigger part of my education than anything that was happening in the classes, you know, and I'm very sorry, you know, my, my family house burnt down some years later so a lot of that stuff is, is gone, but he wrote me these stories, you know, these, these accounts that he experienced and that led me to seek out, I can't remember the name of the guy, the author now but, a series of books that were done on different parts of the world and one was done on Africa, 'Inside Africa.'$$Oh, the John Gunther--$$Yeah, right, Gunther, that's exactly right, and I read Gunther's, 'Inside Africa' as a result of his experience in Nigeria in writing these letters and that was one of my reading experiences early on in high school.$$That's great.$$And then he came back, of course, and then I took other classes with him and that was in that context that, in teaching civics, that, you know, we, you know, encountered both the segregated courtroom on one hand and the, the federal suit against the segregated library [in Danville, Virginia] on the other, that was during my senior year.$$So your senior year seemed like it really was important, I guess, in terms of your outlook?$$Oh, yeah, no, he was, he was undoubtedly the most important single influence in my (simultaneous)--$So, you graduate in '65 [1965] then, right?$$Right, because I had to take an extra year because I changed my major and then in the summer of '65 [1965], and this is, of course, was right after, you recall, right after the Selma [Alabama] demonstrations which we had, demonstrations in Washington [D.C.]. I didn't go to Selma but we were, you know, ringing the White House day and night, protesting what was happening in Selma and we had, and then at the graduation, Lyndon Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson], actually president, came and spoke, gave the commencement address at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] and my folks came up, of course, to my graduation, and my father [Grover Holt] was very proud, you know, he said the first time he'd ever seen a living president, you know.$$Is that the speech where he really just--$$Yeah, this was the speech that leads to, you know, that, "Freedom is not enough, that you need to make changes" [To Fulfill These Rights]. I mean, the speech that was actually influenced by the Moynihan Report ['The Negro Family: The Case For National Action,' Daniel Patrick Moynihan], which was, ironic, I write about this in my recent book was well received and my father said, "Best speech I ever heard a president give" 'cause he was saying, you know, if you read the speech, that we got to do more, the government has to, you know, invest in education and job training and so forth and so on and not just give people, you know, rights but give them really means to, to realize those rights and his famous image that he had that you can't, you know, knock off the chains of a person and expect them to run the race, just like somebody who's never been chained. So it was a very well received speech but it was, also the time he was escalating the Vietnam War and most people weren't paying much attention to that but a lot of students, especially the radical students or the more militant students and SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], were already involved in antiwar activity even as the Civil Rights Movement was, you know, still in, you know, the sort of top of the agenda. And so many of us, you know, not many of us, a number of us protested at the, you know, had signs on our backs and stuff like that, protesting Johnson's speech. So, again, it's an irony that, you know, here's a speech that my father, lived his life to, you know, to hear a president say, and here I am, you know, protesting this guy because he's, you know, escalating what we were considering a racist war.$$So did, well did you find, did you and your father talk about it at some point?$$Yeah but, you know, not, you know, it was live and let live. I mean, I understood his position. I mean, I could, you know, could see, you know, precisely where he's coming from and I think by that point he began to understand, you know, that he had this militant son who was not always going to see things the same way he saw it, you know.

Ronald Gerald Coleman

African American Studies professor Ronald Gerald Coleman was born on April 3, 1944, in San Francisco, California, to Gertrude Hughes, a San Francisco School District food service manager, and Jesse Coleman, a railroad waiter/bartender for Southern Pacific and Amtrak. He attended San Francisco’s Pacific Heights and Emerson Elementary Schools and graduated from George Washington Senior High School. In 1966, Coleman graduated from the University of Utah with his B.A. degree in sociology. He was hired to teach in the San Francisco Unified School District and then at Sacramento City College.

In 1973, Coleman received his M.A. degree in social science from California State University, in Sacramento. Coleman joined the University of Utah faculty as an instructor of history and ethnic studies in 1973 where he taught courses on African American history. His work in history and ethnic studies has been presented at various professional meetings. He has also lectured on topics ranging from African American history to contemporary race relations in the United States. Coleman has written several publications including articles on western black history.

Coleman has served as a member of the University of Utah Senate; the Athletic Board; the faculty mentoring program; and the faculty affirmative action committee. He is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Fraternity and is a life member of the NAACP. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Calvin S. and Jeneal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching, the 2000 Governor’s Award in Humanities and the Albert B. Fitz Civil Rights Worker of the Year Award.

Coleman lives in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

Accession Number

A2008.057

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/17/2008

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Gerald

Schools

George Washington High School

Pacific Heights Elementary School

Emerson Elementary School

California State University, Sacramento

University of Utah

William E. Gladstone Elementary School

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco

HM ID

COL18

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

4/3/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Red), Rice

Short Description

African american history professor Ronald Gerald Coleman (1944 - ) taught history and ethnic studies at the University of Utah from 1973. Coleman specialized in the history of African Americans in the American West, and received numerous awards for his teaching, scholarship and civil rights work.

Employment

General Mills

San Francisco Unified School District

Sacramento City College

University of Utah

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Gerald Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Gerald Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about his maternal grandmother's employer

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about his research on his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls living with his maternal grandparents in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls his earliest experience of southern segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls the murder of Emmett Till

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about his early neighborhood and mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his community in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls attending Pacific Heights School in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes the famous people in his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald Gerald Coleman remembers George Washington Senior High School in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his parents' experience with housing discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls his post high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about playing football at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes the civil rights activities in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Gerald Coleman recalls his deferment from the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Gerald Coleman remembers working at General Mills Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Gerald Coleman remembers his teaching experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his graduate education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about race relations in Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about the African American members of the Mormon faith

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about his favorite historians

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Gerald Coleman remembers Allen Allensworth

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Gerald Coleman reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Gerald Coleman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Gerald Coleman talks about the African American community in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald Gerald Coleman describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ronald Gerald Coleman narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Ronald Gerald Coleman describes his early religious experiences
Ronald Gerald Coleman remembers Allen Allensworth
Transcript
We were a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church [San Francisco, California], also attended bible school at my godparents' which was Second Union Baptist Church [Second Union Missionary Baptist Church, San Francisco, California]. So we back forth Baptist or A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] it didn't make any difference and in, in the church the women of that church I mean they, they--I'm indebted to them. They took me when I was very young and immature and they always made me feel I was very special.$$Now what was the name of the church again?$$Bethel A.M.E.$$Bethel A.M.E., okay.$$They nurtured me, trained me, I mean that's for--you know that one time. Oratorical skills were important and it's kind of interesting today how some people try to minimize that or try to make light of it by implying that there's no substance behind a good speech if you know what I'm talking about. Don't hate, congratulate, and so I--they just helped me. I mean I certainly wasn't gonna get it in the schools. I mean schools were okay, I went to predominately--I didn't go to white--I didn't go to school with white people for the most part. It was African Americans, Asians, a few Mexican Americans, but very few white people, and it was--I went to Bethel A.M.E., I mean it wasn't an option. You had to go every Sunday and the Sunday school--and there I, I made my first addresses. Had my first, really first black history lesson and that I didn't have to do a report but I learned a song that sang about Richard Allen, one of the founders of the A.M.E. Church, and I still know that song today man.$$How does it go, I've never heard this.$$(Singing) "Come gather around your children and a story you should hear of a man we all know and love, his name was Richard Allen and they say he was a slave but he steady rose to great--to heights above, Richard Allen, Richard Allen," and that's (laughter) you know, yeah, that's, that was my first black history lesson.$$Okay.$We were talking about Allen Allensworth is one of your favorite characters?$$Yeah, I'll tell you when--if--there was some discussions as to whether or not to bring the soldiers to Salt Lake City's [Salt Lake City, Utah] Fort Douglas in 1896 and early that year The Salt Lake Tribune which is still in existence today and a vehemently anti-LDS news- and it was a vehemently anti-LDS newspaper along with the Utah Senator Frank Cannon [Frank J. Cannon] tried to get the military officials to not send the entire regiment here, and there was--it was claimed that at certain times of the year the soldiers would have to ride on the same streetcar line with some of the better citizens of the community and that drunken black soldiers behaved far worse than drunken white soldiers. But the unit had never been together in its entirety and they'd been out on the front western frontier for some thirty years, so as a reward for an extended service they wanted to give them a good post and Fort Douglas was considered to be one of the better western forts in the 1890s, and so when they sent those soldiers here in the fall of 1896 the entire regiment it was about 475 black soldiers along with wives, children, camp followers. I mean it quadrupled the black population here in the city--in the county here, excuse me, and certainly enriched the lives of the black community here for a three year period of time and so colonel--no, Chaplain Allensworth wanted to make sure that the soldiers were on their best behavior and went to the local authorities and asked that they do everything they could to make sure that unwanted, undesirable people didn't come up around the fort. And you ask about what makes me really get turned on to him is that he was a great bridge builder, he was very articulate, he carried himself, handsome man, spoke well, worked actively in the larger community, white as well as black community and when the soldiers in 1898 when the drums of war began to beat for what came to be known as the Spanish American War and they decided to send the, the infantry [24th Infantry Regiment]. Man, he gives this wonderful, wonderful speech to the regiment as they're there and periodically he said, "Quit yourself like men, quit your--." I mean you know he was calling and appealing to them to man up, and when he, when they, they returned he was gone and the self-discipline and control that they had exercised from '96 [1896] to '97 [1897] to '98 [1898] coming back at the end of '98 [1898] you know you've been out the war and you done put it all out on the line, you're not gonna be willing to take too much stuff from anybody, and so when they'd run into some hostility, some of the salons didn't wanna serve them, they talked about getting their guns and on one occasion the--on one occasion the local authorities asked the, the sold- the officers to come get the soldiers. The unit had, had grown larger but they didn't have an Allensworth. Allensworth went on to do a lot of other things, but I've always just thought about that address that he had made, 'cause he drew from history, drew from in terms of military history and he kept appealing to them to, "Quit yourself like men," very--and then the brother went on to do some other wonderful things.$$He founded the town Allensworth, California you said?$$Yes, yes.

John Hope Franklin

Dean of African American historians, John Hope Franklin was born January 2, 1915 in Rentriesville, Oklahoma. His family relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma shortly after the Tulsa Disaster of 1921. Franklin's mother, Mollie was a teacher and his father, B.C. Franklin was an attorney who handled lawsuits precipitated by the famous Tulsa Race Riot. Graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1931, Franklin received an A.B. from Fisk University in 1935 and went on to attend Harvard University, where he received his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history.

Franklin began his teaching career at Fisk University before moving on to St. Augustine's College. It was at North Carolina Central University, in 1945, with a $500 advance from Alfred A. Knopf, and help from his wife, Aurelia, that Franklin began writing the classic African American history text, From Slavery to Freedom. The book, co-authored by Alfred A. Moss, Jr. is now in its seventh edition and is published in several different languages. Franklin taught at Howard University for nine years, before becoming the first black to chair the History Department at Brooklyn College in 1956. He was then hired by the University of Chicago in 1964 and chaired the History Department from 1967 to 1970. There, he served as the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he was made Professor Emeritus. In 1982, Franklin joined the faculty at Duke University as the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History.

Active in professional organizations, Franklin has been president of the Southern Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association. He is a life long member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, where he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. In 1997, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chairman of the advisory board for One America, the President's Initiative on Race.
Franklin has written hundreds of articles and at least 15 books. His recent works include Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantations with Loren Schweninger, George Washington Williams: A Biography and a book about his father My Life and an Era: the Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin as well as his own autobiography, The Vintage Years. In 1978 Who's Who in America selected Franklin as one of eight Americans who have made significant contributions to society. Among his many other awards are the Organization of American Historians Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In June 1997, PBS aired First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin, a film produced by Lives and Legacies Films.

Still sought after as a lecturer and advisor, Franklin lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he cultivates orchids.

Franklin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 28, 2003.

Bibliography

Franklin, John Hope. The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790 - 1860. University
of North Carolina Press, 1943.
---. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. Alfred A.
Knopf, 1947. Revised 1957, 1967, 1974, 1980, 1984, 1994.
---. The Militant South, 1800 - 1860. Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, 1956.
---. Reconstruction After the Civil War. University of Chicago Press, 1961.
---. The Emancipation Proclamation. Doubleday & Company, 1963.
---. Land of the Free, with John W. Caughey and Ernest R. May. Franklin
Publications, Benziger Brothers, 1965.
---. Illustrated History of Black Americans. Time-Life, Inc., 1970.
---. A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Louisiana
State University Press, 1976.
---. Racial Equality in America. University of Chicago Press, 1976.
---. George Washington Williams: A Biography. University of Chicago
Press, 1985.
---. Race and History: Selected Essays 1938 - 1988. Louisiana State
University Press, 1990.
---. The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-First Century.. University
of Missouri Press, 1993.

Accession Number

A2003.281

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/28/2003

Last Name

Franklin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Hope

Organizations
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Rentriesville

HM ID

FRA02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Montana

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

1/2/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

3/25/2009

Short Description

African american history professor John Hope Franklin (1915 - 2009 ) is known as the "dean" of African American historians and has published hundreds of articles and at least fifteen books.

Employment

Fisk University

St. Augustine's College

North Carolina Central University

Howard University

Brooklyn College

University of Chicago

Duke University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Hope Franklin interview, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin details his family's values

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin decodes historical moments in his parents' lifetimes

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin discusses the bestowing of names in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Hope Franklin recalls his early interest in a legal career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Hope Franklin explains his decision to attend Fisk University

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - John Hope Franklin remembers his three siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - John Hope Franklin describes his undergraduate years at Fisk University

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - John Hope Franklin recalls his Harvard University tenure as a graduate student

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - John Hope Franklin discusses Harvard University's black student population

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of John Hope Franklin interview, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses radicalism in universities during the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin recalls completing his graduate work during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin describes life as a doctoral student

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin conveys his approach to the study of history

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin discusses his appointment to Howard University's faculty

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin decodes the impetus behind his book, 'From Slavery to Freedom'

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin considers the African American historical tradition

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Hope Franklin explains the evolution of 'From Slavery to Freedom'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin discusses his oeuvre

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses key instances of racial integration

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin explains his decision to leave Brooklyn College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin describes life as a family man

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin remembers the tumultuous summer of 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin recalls the impact of Carter G. Woodson's death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin places the Civil Rights Movement within a historical perspective

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin discusses his role in the Brown v. Board of Education trial

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin delineates his political activism and scholarship

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin shares his impressions of the Soviet Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin recalls his tenure at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin discusses the introduction of race and gender to historical scholarship

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin describes his various international appointments

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin explains his move from the University of Chicago to Duke University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin discusses changes in the focus of his scholarship

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin acknowledges an influential scholar

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin is quite humble about his 135 honorary degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin describes his love of orchids

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin maintains the importance of separating scholarship from activism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin discusses his appointment as chair of the Presidential Advisory Board on Race Relations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin reflects on President Bill Clinton's Advisory Board on Race Relations

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin discusses the publication of his father's autobiography

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses his autobiography

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin expresses his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin contemplates the evolution of African American historical scholarship

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin considers the Franklin family legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin wants to be remembered as a first-rate teacher

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin wishes he had been a linguist

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin is going fishing

Walter Hill, Jr.

Walter Hill, Jr., was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 22, 1949. After finishing high school, Hill enrolled in the College of Wooster, earning a B.A. degree in history in 1971. From there, he attended Northern Illinois University, studying American history. Earning an M.A. degree in 1973, he returned to school to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1988.

After completing his master’s degree, Hill taught at St. Louis University from 1974 to 1977. He returned to school in the fall of 1977 to work towards the Ph.D. in U.S. History at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant and later as an instructor in the Afro-American Studies Program between 1982 and 1983. While working towards the Ph.D., he also worked at the National Archives and Records Administration as a graduate intermittent research student until 1983 in the Office of the Archivist and Office of Federal Records. From 1983 to 1984, he held a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Upon completing the fellowship in 1984, he returned to the National Archives and Records Administration as an archivist with the Office of the National Archives where he remained for seven years. In 1990, he left to work in the Office of Public Program, assuming the role of director of the Modern Archives Institute and subject specialist for Afro-American history. He remained with the office until 1995 when he departed for the new facility in College Park, Maryland, and assumed the position of senior archivist and subject area specialist for Afro-American history and federal records. In 1984, Hill became an adjunct professor of Afro-American history in the Afro-American Studies Department, Howard University, Washington, D.C., and taught courses in Afro-American history for the next two decades.

As a noted historian, Hill appeared in several documentaries, as well as on Good Morning America, Washington Journal and Fox TV. He served on the editorial board of the African American History Bulletin, the Executive Council of the Association for the Study of Afro-American History and on the advisory board of The HistoryMakers, among others. He has also written extensively, his work appearing in such journals as the Newsletter of the American Historical Association and the Journal of Minority Issues.

Hill passed away on July 29, 2008 at the age of 59.

Accession Number

A2003.254

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2003

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bowers

Schools

Dessalines Elementary School

Pruitt Elementary School

Vashon High School

College of Wooster

Northern Illinois University

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

HIL01

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/22/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Meatballs, Cornbread, Green Peas

Death Date

7/29/2008

Short Description

Archivist, historian, and african american history professor Walter Hill, Jr. (1949 - 2008 ) teaches at Howard University and was a senior archivist for the National Archives and Records in Washington D.C. As a noted historian, Hill appeared in several documentaries and has written for numerous publications including, 'Newsletter of the American Historical Association' and the 'Journal of Minority Issues'.

Employment

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Howard University

African American Civil War Memorial

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Hill interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Hill's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Hill talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Hill talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Hill remembers his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Hill discusses living in the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Hill tells of his immediate family members

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Hill describes his mother's involvement in Pruit-Igoe family councils

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Hill explains his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Hill remembers influential school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Hill talks about his early study of black history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Hill recounts his high school career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Hill recalls the presence of the Vietnam War during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Hill remembers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Hill discusses his religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Hill details his transition from high school into college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Hill tells of his experiences at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Hill names influential professors at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Walter Hill recounts student activism at The College of Wooster

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Walter Hill discusses his travels to Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Hill discusses his experiences in Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Hill talks about black participation in Olympic events

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Hill shares observations from his travels to Kenya

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Hill comments on black history scholars' writings

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Hill explains the social and political climate for young African Americans in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Hill tells of his involvement in bettering black communities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Hill talks about black student organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Hill remembers influential black historians

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Hill explains his decision to attend University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Hill discusses his early involvement with The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Hill talks about the history of black employees at The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Hill tells of African American history included in The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Hill describes popular areas of study on African American history at The National Archives

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Hill comments on The National Archives records pertaining to lynchings

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Hill discusses The National Archive's FBI records

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Hill talks about European scholars' interest in African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Hill talks about favorite discoveries during his career at The National Archives

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Hill discusses various documents from black soldiers within The National Archives

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Hill comments on feature films that attempt to document black history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Hill details African American military involvement during the Civil War

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Hill recounts the history of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Hill explains the connection of World War II and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Hill shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter Hill comments on the importance of oral history

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Hill considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - How Walter Hill would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Walter Hill describes popular areas of study on African American history at The National Archives
Walter Hill talks about favorite discoveries during his career at The National Archives
Transcript
Give us some examples as to the kinds of records that are here, I mean--$$Well, I'll give you three top, hot topics--.$$They would surprise us about that.$$Yeah, I'll give you three hot topics, I think, in Afro-American history that everybody wants to talk about: Number one, United States Colored Troops, okay. Number two is the Tuskegee Airmen, okay. And, and number three is what I considered sort of, sort of, sort of the, the, the great individuals and the one person that I think is, is focused here is Robert C. Weaver when he comes to Washington [D.C.] in the 1930s in the New Deal, all right. Those are three areas that I have talked about and written about. And, and the Tuskegee Airmen and the United States Colored Troops, of, that's a very unique history 'cause they, they're no longer with us. And that's the fascinating thing about federal records. There's this breakdown in distinction between records that pertain to different groups. All this documentation of, of, of black people is sort of segregated and then you can go right to it. The records of the United States Colored Troops are there. The records of the Tuskegee Airmen and all the facets of that process is there. The whole fact that you had a segregated and--and I guess you can call that a fourth element--the fact that you had a black military dynamic where from 18-, from the Revolutionary War on to World, to the Korean War, you had this segregated--even though in the American Revolution the Continental Army was really integrated, a lot of black people don't know that. But a lot of black people don't even realize that we fought in the American Revolution (laughter). But by the time of the Civil War when--and, of course, after the American Revolution Congress designates that the, the Army should be white males. But in the Civil War when we get the creation of the United States Colored Troops, there's this debate about arming black men. So that's a history that is fascinating. And it's all in these records here. Now you get in the 20th century, and we have the Spanish-American War, World World I, World War II. You still have this segregated army that--and it's an amazing history, you see. And then you have the Tuskegee Airmen, the Tuskegee Airmen Association is still with us, and a lot of those men are dying out, and that history is very important. But it's a unique history. These are people, these are institutions that no longer exist, but they will always be studied. And I've written about all of this stuff, right. So this is what I mean about the immense documentation because you not only find the documentation of African American in paper documents we call textual records, but there's Afro-American history in the, the still pictures, the, the photos. We have over 10 million images in, in the, our holdings of the National Archives. And probably a quarter of those images, quarter, a million of them, 250,000 probably or 200,000 of those images contain images of black people alone or black people with other groups--amazing stuff, you know. Maybe a million more, but we have over 10 million images. We have black people documented, documented in motion on audio-visual. We have maps that, we have maps about slave populations, where slave populations are located in the slave-holding states. And even when the census began to count black people, we have census track maps that point to where black people lived in cities and rural areas--fascinating stuff.$$So you can track their migration.$$You can track migration. You can also track black families because remember what happened in 1977 when Alex Haley wrote 'Roots.' It changed the whole dynamics of genealogical research. And black people discovered, oh, we got a history that goes back to Africa! And I was in the National Archives [and Records Administration] in those days when that book came out, and I saw what happened in '78 [1978] and '79 [1979]--you couldn't get into that building because everybody was doing genealogical research, yeah. 'Roots' changed the whole dynamic.$$It did and it didn't on some level. We still don't, I mean, a lot of people still don't know much about or dig into where they, their origin.$$Well, it has a lot to do with their historical consciousness, quite frankly, you know--how much you think of history and what you think about history. Because there's still a bias about history because, you know, I, I, I teach at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] and I, and I have juniors and senior students in my--I teach 19th century and 20th century black social and political thought. And I ask, half the students who believe that American history is biased and tell too many lies about black people. Now this is in 2003, so you can imagine what was going on in people's minds in those days, in the '70s [1970s] and '80s [1980s]. But we've come a long way. And like I said I think it has a lot to do with our, the development of our historical consciousness and our historical thinking about who we are and what we are and what has happened to us. Because we don't know much about American history and we don't know a lot about our own history, yeah, in terms of, in terms of the masses, yeah.$What's the most, what's the most interesting thing you've discovered here in the National Archives [and Records Administration] that most of us would not know existed?$$Oh, boy, this goes back to my days with the project, Ira Berlin's project, because I began to read the letters of black soldiers and slave people. And just reading their thoughts about their--what's going on in the war--that opened up a lot because I began to see the slave agency that scholars had begun to write about and are writing about now that slaves were very active participants in their freedom. And I saw this stuff being documented because there were any number of letters that I came across in which black soldiers talked about what they're doing, why they're doing it, they're gonna get, they're gonna free their families, and this and that. And it was just fascinating stuff to me. That, you know, was one of the elements that attracted me to archives because I'm reading original stuff. You know, when you pick up a document and read a letter or a series of letters, you're really going back in time into the minds of that individual. And when I read all this stuff, what these black slaves and these Union troops, these black Union troops, and white commanding officers, I was just fascinated. I, you, and that's the fascinating thing about being an archivist and a, particularly a project archivist, because when you're processing records, you have a task to do. But when you, when you're reading these documents, these letters, these reports, whatever, you can get fascinated with them so much and you forget about you have a job to do, a task to complete. And I remember many days sitting in those stack areas down in archives going through these dusty boxes, reading these letters--oh my God, oh my God! And I'm forgetting what I'm supposed to be doing. But that was the really eye-opening thing to me about archives, black history, and black people. Reading the, the, the letters of these black soldiers and, and, and in, in those days, see, black people used people who can read and write to do, to, to say the things that they want to do 'cause we, we're talking about an illiterate people, you know. But they had minds, they knew what they wanted to say, what was going on in their lives. So from that point on, I realized that this is just fascinating work. And, and it was this story of this transition from slavery to freedom that really fascinated me. And that's why, one of the reasons why I stayed here at the National Archives and Records Administration.