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Founders of Black History Month
The ASALH Speakers Bureau
Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Lecturers
Dr. Russell L. Adams is a political sociologist with a long time interest in interdisciplinary instruction,
curriculum development, community diversity and intergroup relations. The holder of the B.A. has
published numerous articles on the emergence of Afro-American Studies as an academic field
utilizing  various disciplines, the role of philosophy and the function of epistemology in constructing
and defining social reality. He is the author of the widely used publication Great Negroes: Past and
Present. Dr. Adams is engaged in editing a series of essays focusing on the antebellum black
community and black participation in the American Civil War. Dr. Adams has served as Chair,
Department of Afro American Studies Howard University, Washington, DC, and as a curriculum
consultant to colleges and public school systems in different parts of the country. He is a manuscript
reviewer for academic journals and textbook publishers. Frequently quoted by the mass media, he
has lectured throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Israel and South Africa. Dr.
Adams is under contract with the African American Civil War Memorial Foundation [Dr. Frank
specialist for their docent training program to handle  the Foundation's year's Sesquecentennial
Observance of the U.S. Civil War entitled "Civil War to Civil Rights: The Glorious March to Liberty."

Derrick Alridge, University of Georgia
Dr. Derrick P. Alridge is Associate Professor of Social Foundations of Education at the University of
Georgia, Athens. His areas of scholarship include the history of U.S. African American education,
Civil Rights Studies, and Hip Hop Studies. He is currently co-director of the Foot Soldier Project for
Civil Rights Studies at UGA--a research project that produces historical documentaries on the Civil
Rights Movement in Georgia. Professor Alridge's work has been published in a variety of journals,
The Journal of African American History, The Journal of Negro Education, and The
Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Felix Armfield, Buffalo State University/SUNY
Dr. Felix Armfield is Associate Professor of History at Buffalo State College in the Department of
History and Social Studies Education.  He also was a member of the faculty of Western Illinois
University from 1995 to 2000.  Most recently, he published the book
Black Life in West Central
Illinois (2001)
, and is presently working on a biography of Eugene Kinckle Jones, a black social
work pioneer in the early twentieth century and the first Executive Secretary of the National Urban
League, 1916-1940.

Deidre Hill Butler, Union College
Dr. Deidre Hill Butler came to Union College from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts
where she earned her Ph.D.  Dr. Butler's research interest includes the social geography of race,
class and gender in African American social institutions in New England, the role of African
American women in contemporary step-families. She has received recognition for her scholarship
from the New York African-American Institute and the Massachusetts Historical League. Dr. Butler
has severed on the Program Committee for the Association of Black Sociologists and the Association
for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, and is a member of the American Sociological
Association. She is an active member of the Black Women Health Project, a national black women’s
grassroots health initiative. Dr.  Butler contributed an essay to the 2003 ASALH Black History Kit,
Souls of Black Folk: Centennial Reflections.

William Jelani Cobb, Spelman College
William Jelani Cobb, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History at Spelman College. He specializes in
post-Civil War African American history, 20th century American politics and the history of the Cold
War. He served as a delegate and historian for the 5th Congressional District at the 2008 Democratic
National Convention. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. Dr.
Cobb is also the author of To The Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (NYU Press
2007) which was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing. He was educated at Howard
University in Washington, D.C. and Rutgers University where he received his doctorate in American
History under the supervision of Dr. David Levering Lewis in May 2003.

Dr. Cobb has two forthcoming books: In Our Lifetimes: Barack Obama and the New Black America
and a scholarly monograph titled Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the
Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931-1957. His articles and essays have appeared in The Washington Post,
Essence, Vibe, Emerge, The Progressive, The Washington City Paper, ONE Magazine, Ebony and He has contributed to a number of anthologies including In Defense of Mumia,
Testimony, Mending the World and Beats, Rhymes and Life. He has also been a featured
commentator on National Public Radio, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CBS News and a number of other national
broadcast outlets.

Solomon W.F. Comissiong, SCMB Educational Consulting
Solomon W.F. Comissiong is the President and co-founder of SCMB Educational Consulting. SCMB
Educational Consulting espouses to the use of mediums, such as Hip Hop Culture, to educate poorly
motivated students. Comissiong’s company facilitates workshops on topics regarding academic
retention, reluctant-student-motivation, and enabling enthusiasm for learning.  He is a skilled and
passionate orator who engages his audiences as he demonstrates, within the content of his
presentations.   His style and commitment has won him popularity among fellow educators and a
wide range of student populations.

Mr. Comissiong uses Hip Hop to engage audiences in everything from Black History to Social Issues
to the Importance of Civic Engagement. Mr. Comissiong is an educator at the University of
Maryland College Park (UMD) where he teaches two 400-level courses based around Hip Hop
Culture and social issues. He also holds the position of Assistant Director at the Nyumburu Cultural
Center at UMD.

C.R. Gibbs, Washington, DC
Mr. C.R. Gibbs, historian of the African Diaspora, author and humanities scholar, is the author/co-
author of six books and a frequent national and international lecturer on an array of historical
information.  He has appeared several times on the History Channel, French and Belgian television,
and researched, wrote and narrated "Sketches in Color," a 13-part companion series to the acclaimed
PBS series, "The Civil War" for WHUT-TV, the Howard University television station. The
Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Community Museum features Mr. Gibbs among its scholars at
museum’s Online Academy. He is also a Washington, DC Humanities Council Scholar. In 1989,
he founded the African History and Culture Lecture Series whose scholars continue to provide
presentations at libraries, churches, and other locations in the Washington, DC-Baltimore, MD area.
In 1997, he led 26 people on a study tour across the African continent. He was awarded the 2008
Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in Public Education, given annually by the Mayor of
Washington, DC. In 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust honored Mr. Gibbs
for his more than three decades of articles, exhibits, and presentations on the military heritage of
Africans and African Americans.

Debra Newman Ham, Morgan State University
Dr. Debra Newman Ham is a Professor of History at Morgan State University. She received her B.A.
and Ph.D. from Howard University, and her Masters from Boston University.  Dr. Ham served as
the Specialist in Afro-American History and Culture in the Manuscript Division at the Library of
Congress, and from 1972 to 1986 as an archivist and Black History Specialist at the National
Archives. Dr. Ham worked as the guest curator of a major Library of Congress exhibit entitled
"African American Odyssey: Quest for Full Citizenship," and as the editor of the exhibit catalog of
the same name (1998).

She is the senior author and editor of
The African-American Mosaic: A Guide to Black History
Resources in the Library of Congress (1993)
and the author of Black History: A Guide to Civilian
Records in the National Archives (1984)
. She also has written a number of book chapters and
articles including:
"Resource Guide," Columbia University  Guide to African American History since
1939 (2006)
, and “Government Documents," in the Harvard Guide to African-American History
to name a few.  She has been a member of ASALH for over thirty-five years.

Ida E. Jones, Howard University
Dr. Ida E. Jones is a native of Cambridge Massachusetts, and currently the senior manuscript
librarian in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.  She is a graduate of Howard University with a
BA in Journalism 1992, and a Ph.D. 2001.  Her field of study centers around African American
religion and historic records preservation, and her research examines the role of the church within
African American culture and the American political economy.  She has worked with a number of
churches to preserve their records and promote understanding of their historical importance in
American urban history.  Dr. Jones is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of History at
Howard University, and currently serves as co-editor of the
Black History Bulletin (formally the
Negro History Bulletin)

Benjamin R. Justesen, Author and Editor
Mr. Benjamin Justesen is a freelance writer and editor in Alexandria, Virginia. The author of three
books and a number of journal articles dealing with post-Reconstruction political history, he has
been a print journalist, businessman, teacher, nonprofit director, and U.S. diplomat. He is currently a
Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history at Union Institute & University, Cincinnati. His latest book is
Brotherhood: the Rise and Fall of the National Afro-American Council (Southern Illinois University
Press, 2008)
. He is also the author of George Henry White: An Even Chance in the Race of Life
(LSU Press, 2001)
, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in biography, and more than a dozen
biographical sketches in the National African American Biography project (2008). Current projects
include a biographical directory of North Carolina's African American officeholders, 1868-1901.

Eileen Kugler
Eileen Kugler passionately champions the unique benefits that diversity brings schools and
communities. She challenges audiences to break through society’s “myth-perceptions” about race
and culture, empowering them to go beyond celebrating to advocating for diversity.   Eileen’s award-
winning book, "Debunking the Middle-Class Myth: Why diverse schools are good for all kids," is
inspiring honest dialogue in boardrooms, classrooms, and living rooms. Her commentaries appear in
publications from USA Today and The Washington Post to Educational Leadership and The National
School Boards Journal.   Eileen’s commitment was motivated by the inspired education of her own
white middle-class children at one of the most diverse schools in the nation, with students from
wide-ranging cultures and economic backgrounds, hailing from nearly 90 nations.  Blending her
professional expertise as a communications expert with her volunteer commitment, Eileen worked
collaboratively with administrators, faculty, parents, students and community members to rebuild the
school’s crumbling community support and turn it into a vibrant focal point of its multicultural
community. Eileen was named Education Advocate of the Year by the American Association of
University Women-Virginia. Today Eileen speaks to audiences from Anchorage to Atlanta, Chicago
to Seattle, and consults with school districts and communities
throughout the country.

James Loewen
A sociologist who spent two years at the Smithsonian surveying twelve leading high school
textbooks of American history only to find an embarrassing blend of bland optimism, blind
nationalism, and plain misinformation, weighing in at an average of 888 pages and almost five
pounds. A best-selling author who wrote Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School
History Textbook Got Wrong and Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. A
researcher who discovered that many, and in many states most communities were "Sundown
Towns" that kept out blacks (and sometimes other groups) for decades. (Some still do.) An
educator who attended Carleton College, holds the Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, and
taught race relations for twenty years at the University of Vermont.  "He has led workshops for in-
service teachers and pre-service ed. students from New England to California."  

Lopez Matthews, Jr.
Dr. Lopez Matthews, Jr. [email: ] is an Archives Technician in the Holdings
Maintenance Division at the U.S. National Archives (NARA). He is also an Adjunct Professor at
Coppin State where he teaches courses covering U.S., African American and World History. Born in
Baltimore, MD, Dr. Matthews earned his B.A. in history from Coppin State University in 2004, a
Masters degree in Public History in 2006 and his Ph.D in U.S. History from Howard University in
2009. He taught courses at Howard University covering African American Women in U.S. History,
and Museum and Archives. He has also worked as a historian for the Black History Program of the
Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission.

Dr. Matthews was a paid intern at: the Maryland State Archives; the Moorland Spingarn Research
Center at Howard University; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and
Culture; and the Humanities Council of Washington, DC. He has volunteered for several National
Park Service venues: The Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site (NHS) and The Mary
McLeod Bethune Council House NHS, in Washington, DC; Hampton Mansion NHS and Fort
McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, MD. He also served: as historian for
the Delta Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; on the Lectures & Colloquia Committee
in the History Department at Howard University.

Dr. Matthews now volunteers for various organizations within the Maryland/ Washington, DC area:
Executive Council Member for ASALH; board member of BLEWS: the Black-Jewish Forum of
Baltimore. MD; Outreach Committee chair for the National Archives Assembly; and Secretary of the
Afro-American History Society at NARA. Since 2005, he has researched, designed and produced the
annual Black History Month Student Learning Resources CD-ROM, published by ASALH. He is also
a member of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society.

Rodney Orr
Dr. Rodney Orr has been a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ for 32 years, 17 of which
have been spent overseas in Zimbabwe, Scotland and Kenya.  He holds a Ph.D. in African American
Missions History from the University of Edinburgh, (UK). In this research, he studied the
reconnection between African Americans and East Africans that the call to missions gave to 15
African Americans and Jamaicans from 1900 to 1926.  He has a Masters of Theology in New
Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary and his BSc is from Purdue University in Industrial
Management. After graduating from Purdue he worked in management engineering for five years in
the U.S. Air Force before joining Campus Crusade for Christ fulltime. He went to Washington, DC
to work in the inner city training churches in evangelism and discipling men for 4 years before going
to Dallas Theological Seminary. Following his graduation from seminary, he taught systematic
theology in a seminary in Nairobi, Kenya for three years and then proceeded to University of
Edinburgh, Scotland to do his Ph.D. After graduating in 1998, he moved to Harare, Zimbabwe
where for 10 years he helped to start a graduate school of leadership called Africa Leadership and
Management Academy (ALMA). His personal vision is “to build people by opening their eyes to
truth”.  This includes biblical truth and the truth about AA missions history. Dr. Orr now works
with Campus Crusade for Christ at Yale University, sharing the gospel with graduate students and
faculty. He delivers talks on the themes below:

    “Motivation for missionary work among African Americans as an impulse for reconnection
    with Africa.”  This talk is based on Dr. Orr’s Ph.D. dissertation and his years of experience
    as a missionary in Africa.

    “Building leaders of integrity who will impact the African American community and the world
    for Christ.” This talk is based on Dr. Orr’s biblical knowledge and other readings, his
    experience in building a school of leadership in Zimbabwe and his experience in the African
    American community.

Kim Pearson, The College of New Jersey
Ms. Kim Pearson is Assistant Professor of journalism at The College of New Jersey and in 2000;
Pearson was named the New Jersey Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.  She is
the author of numerous articles that have appeared in
Emerge, Crisis Magazine, and for The
Quarterly Black Review of Books
.  Ms. Pearson was a contributor to The Souls of Black Folk:
Centennial Reflections
, the first interactive ASALH Black History Month Kit and the creator of the
Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn 1905-2005, Black History Theme interactive CD-Rom.

Tammy Sanders-Henderson, University of Maryland - College Park
Dr. Tammy Sanders-Henderson is a lecturer in the African American Studies Department at the
University of Maryland at College Park and doctoral candidate in the American Studies Department.  
She was a summer Fellow and took part in
Holding Up Both Ends of the Sky: Engendering
Africana Studies, A Summer Institute on Critical Theory, Black Womyn Scholarship and Africana
Studies (2002)
in the Africana Studies Department at Cornell University, where she engaged in
intense study of constructions of African American motherhood. Dr. Sanders-Henderson is now the
Academic Program Coordinator for the Association for the Study of African American Life and
History. Her scholarly work centers on 19th and 20th century “Black Feminist Thought”  in the
areas of womanhood and motherhood. More specifically, she offers to a critical lens to her
examination of the intersections of social, political, and economic in relation to issues of human
reproduction and female identity.  

Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University
Dr. Daryl Michael Scott is Professor of History at Howard University. He received his Ph.D. in
History from Stanford University. Dr. Scott is a historian who specializes in America since the Civil
War.  In particular, he studies African Americans, Southerners (whites in the American South), race
relations, and intellectual history.  He received the  James A. Rawley Prize of the Organization of
American Historians for the best work on race relations history in the United States (1998).

Selected publications include: Editor,
The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson, The
ASALH Press, 2005;
Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Black Psyche, 1880-
Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1997; “Postwar Pluralism, Brown v Board of
Education and the Origins of Multiculturalism," Journal of American History, June 2004; "The
Politics of Pathology," Journal of Policy History 8 (Winter 1996). Dr. Scott edited
Carter G.
Woodson's Appeal
, Washington, DC, The ASALH Press, 2008.

Barbara Spencer Dunn, Kiamsha Youth Empowerment Organization
First Director of Membership Services, ASALH
Barbara Spencer Dunn is the Executive Director of Kiamsha Youth Empowerment Organization and
the first person in the history of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
to be employed as Director of Membership Services (July 1, 2004 – January 18, 2008).  Mrs. Dunn
is a graduate of Bowie State University and recipient of several community service awards for her
extensive work in communities around the country.  Mrs. Dunn’s presentations educate people of all
cultures, blends generational divides, enlightens youth, reengages the church community, and cause
intellectuals to re-focus their thinking in a way that reflects Dr. Woodson’s goals in his seminal
work, “The Mis-Education of the Negro.”  Mrs. Dunn recruited and engaged a group of
professionals to create a work study guide to provide a document that will not only engage
educators and intellectuals, but will also engage high school youth and families around the world in
the reading of “The Mis-Education of the Negro in 2008 marking the 75th Anniversary of this very
important work by Dr. Woodson.

James B. Stewart
James B. Stewart was elected as President of ASALH in 2009 to serve a 3-year term. He is a
Professor Emeritus at Penn State University and was previously a Professor of Labor Studies and
Employment Relations, African and African American Studies, and Management and Organization.
Prior to that time he held the positions of Vice Provost for Educational Equity and Director of the
Black Studies Program Dr. Stewart  has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame
(1976); an M.A. in Economics (1971); and a B.S. in Mathematics (1969). He has authored, co-
authored, or edited 11 books and over seventy journal articles and over seventy book chapters. Dr.
Stewart has also served as editor of The Review of Black Political Economy. His books include
African Americans and Post-Industrial Labor Markets (1997); African Americans in the U.S.
Economy (2005); Introduction to African American Studies, Transdisciplinary Approaches and
Implications (2007); and a collection of essays about Africana Studies entitled, Flight In Search of
Vision (2004). His past leadership experiences include Presidencies of the National Economic
Association and the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) (1997-2001). Dr. Stewart has
received awards from many organizations including NCBS, the African American Studies and
Research Center (Purdue University), and the ANKH Scientific Institute.   

Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Morgan State University
Dr. Terborg-Penn is a Professor of History, Morgan State University, and Coordinator of Graduate
Programs in History.  She received her Ph. D. in Afro-American History from Howard University,
and is the co-founder of the Association of Black Women Historians.  She is the editor of several
books on
African American women's history and is the author of African American Women in the
Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (1998)

Ben Vinson, Johns Hopkins University
Ben Vinson, III, is Professor of Latin American History and Director of the Center for Africana
Studiesat Johns Hopkins University.  He is a specialist on issues of race in Latin America,
particularly Mexico. Although trained as a colonial Latin Americanist, his research interests and
publications includecontemporary African-American/Afro-Latino relations, 20th century African-
American/Mexican relations, the history of transnationalism, and the African Diaspora.  His major
publications include: Bearing Arms for His Majesty: The Free-Colored Militia in Colonial Mexico
(Stanford University Press, 2001), and Flight: The Story of Virgil Richardson, A Tuskegee Airman in
Mexico (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004), to name a few. He has also published in newspapers such as
the Raleigh News & Observer, the New York Post, El Aguila del Hudson Valley, the Patriot-News
(Harrisburg, PA) and the San Diego Union Tribune. Professor Vinson received his Ph.D. from
Columbia University in 1998 and his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1992.  
Click here to download
complete bio.

Sheila S. Walker
Sheila S. Walker, Ph.D., cultural anthropologist and filmmaker, is Executive Director of
Afrodiaspora, Inc., a non-profit organization that is developing documentaries and educational
materials about the global African Diaspora. She has done fieldwork, lectured, consulted, and
participated in cultural events in much of Africa and the African Diaspora. Her most recent works
are the documentary film,
Slave Routes: A Global Vision, for the UNESCO Slave Route Project, and
an edited book,
Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus
historias/Afro-South Americans Speak of their People and their Stories
, featuring articles by
Afrodescendants from all of the Spanish-speaking countries of South America. She also edited the
African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas and produced the
Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora. Dr. Walker was Director
of the Center for African and African American Studies, the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial
Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at
Austin. She also was the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities and Social
Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the African Diaspora and the World Program
at Spelman College [website:  email: ].

Lillian S. Williams, University of Buffalo
Dr. Lillian S. Williams is Chair and Associate Professor of African American Studies at the
University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. Until recently, Dr. Williams was Associate
Professor of Women's Studies at the University at Albany where she also was director of the
Institute for Research on Women. She is author of Strangers in the
Land of Paradise: The Creation
of an African American Community, Buffalo, New York, 1900-1940
.  Her current research has been
on African American women and the club movement and she is completing a book on
Blacks in
Green: African Americans in the Girl Scout Movement

Yohuru Williams, Delaware State University
Dr. Yohuru Williams is Associate Professor of History and Director of Black Studies at Delaware
State University.  He received his Ph.D. from Howard University in 1998.  Dr. Williams is the author
Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (2000)
A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present Documents and Essays
. He also served as general editor for the ASALH’s 2002 and 2003 Black History Month Kits,
The Color Line Revisited and The Souls of Black Folks: Centennial Reflections. Dr. Williams's
scholarly articles have appeared in the Black Scholar,
The Journal of Black Studies, and the Black
History Bulletin
.  Dr. Williams presently working on a book on African-American political activism
in Delaware.

Zachery Williams, Ithaca College
Dr. Zachery Williams is an Assistant Professor of African New World Studies at Ithaca College, and
is a minister with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Ithaca, New York.  Dr. Williams
received his Ph. D. in history from Bowling Green University.  He has worked in the areas of “Black
Masculinist Thought” and “Africana Policy Studies,” and is currently completing a book
In Search
of the Talented Tenth: Howard University Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race in Academia,