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Why Chronicling African-American History is Important: A Centennial Talk


Children often ask parents that all-important question: Who Am I? For African-Americans that may be a question best answered by historians who are keepers of the black narrative. (Dr. Carlton Wilson, Chair, History Department, NCCU)

Dr. Arwin Smallwood, an NCCU alumnus, will deliver a lecture titled NCCU at the Crossroads of African American History and Culture, which will highlight the university’s contribution to crafting the study of African-American history. The lecture takes place on campus Friday, November 13, 2009, at 12 noon, in the Miller-Morgan Auditorium on Nelson Street.

Smallwood is an associate professor of colonial American history at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. He was born in Windsor, N.C. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NCCU and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

During the 1920s, the study of history figured prominently in Dr. James E. Shepard’s vision of providing a liberal arts education for blacks. Beginning in 1929, students could earn a degree in history at the North Carolina College for Negroes.

Through the years, respected teachers and scholars like Joseph Taylor, James Brewer, John Hope Franklin, Earlie Thorpe, Caulbert Jones, Helen Edmonds, Sylvia Jacobs, and others have produced students who have had a significant impact on teaching, researching, and writing African-American history. NCCU’s Department of History has produced more students who have earned doctorates in history than any other HBCU.

In addition to teaching and research, NCCU has played a major role in providing professional leadership for the discipline. In 1961 and 1987 the university hosted the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Founded by Carter G. Woodson, the Association is the premier professional organization for those associated with studying African-American history and culture. NCCU’s chair of the History Department, Carlton Wilson, will serve as National Academic Program Chair for next year’s meeting.

Smallwood’s talk also is part of the D.W. Bishop Lecture series, honoring the life and work of David W. Bishop who taught history at NCCU for 20 years. Dr. Bishop received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and the Ph.D. from Catholic University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Dr. Carlton Wilson, at (919) 530-6271.

Published: Tuesday, November 03, 2009
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