Reflections on African American Studies
“African American Studies and the Lessons of Experience”
This event is open to the public.
The experiential effects of American racism--the continual lived experiences of racial insult, injustice, and the denial of equal citizenship--led to concerted efforts on the part of African American scholars to pursue the study of their people through multiple academic venues and disciplinary perspectives. Joined by sympathetic white scholars in the decades ahead, they developed a growing body of research that was, in turn, deployed in the real world as a weapon against Jim Crow. The reciprocal roles of academic work and on-the-ground activism appeared prominently on American campuses with the rise of Black Studies in the 1960s and 1970s. These roles remain conjoined in new ways in the twenty-first century.
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Professor Higginbotham earned her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in American History, her M.A. from Howard University, and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her published work spans a range of topics, including African American religious history, women’s history, and civil rights. She has thoroughly revised and re-written the classic African American history survey From Slavery to Freedom, which was first published by John Hope Franklin in 1947. She is the co-author with the late John Hope Franklin of this book’s ninth edition, which came out in 2010. Higginbotham is co-editor with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the African American National Biography (2008). This multivolume work can also be accessed as an online reference that presents African American history through the lives of more than 4,000 biographical entries. She is the editor-in-chief of the comprehensive guide to sources, The Harvard Guide to African-American History (2001) with co-editors Darlene Clark Hine and Leon Litwack. Professor Higginbotham is perhaps most noted for her prizewinning book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church 1880-1920 (1993).
Higginbotham is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Of those most recently received, she was awarded the Star Family Prize for Excellence in Advising in May 2012 for her exemplary intellectual guidance and mentorship of Harvard undergraduate students. In February 2012, she received the Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In 2010, Dr. Higginbotham was inducted into the American Philosophical Society for promoting useful knowledge. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History awarded her the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion in October 2008, and the Urban League awarded her the Legend Award in August 2008. In March 2005, AOL Black Voices included her among the “Top 10 Black Women in Higher Education.” In April 2003 she was chosen by Harvard University to be a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow in recognition of her achievements and scholarly eminence in the field of history.