University of South Carolina Associate Professor of History Bobby J. Donaldson will speak at Furman University Wednesday, April 4 at 6 p.m. in Patrick Lecture Hall (Plyler Hall 126).
His CLP talk, “The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Remembering & Reconstructing the African American Past,” is free and open to the public and serves as the annual Tindall Memorial History Lecture sponsored by the Furman Department of History. The lecture is also part of the programming for Furman’s Task Force on Slavery and Justice.
Held on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, the presentation examines the determined efforts of African Americans to challenge longstanding narratives that excluded and silenced “black voices” in the Palmetto State with respect to museums, monuments and memoirs.
A faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at University of South Carolina, Donaldson is a scholar of Southern history and African American life and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. His research and writings explore African American intellectual thought, print culture, education and religion.
Donaldson leads the Center for Civil Rights History and Research, housed in the Hollings Special Collections Library. He also serves as the lead scholar for “Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters,” a documentary history initiative that chronicles the struggle for civil rights and social justice in Columbia.
He is completing work on a monograph entitled “‘In Our Own Defense’: New Negro Intellectuals in the Jim Crow South.” The project critiques the varied and often competing rhetorical, ideological and political strategies black intellectuals in Georgia employed as they battled white supremacy and negotiated African Americans’ precarious “place” in both the South and the nation. He is also conducting research on a biography of William Jefferson White, a political activist, Baptist minister and journalist who founded Morehouse College in 1867.
Donaldson has served as a consultant for museum exhibitions, archival collections, oral history initiatives, documentary films, and historic preservation projects, including the renovation of the Booker T. Washington High School in downtown Columbia. In 2008, the Historic Columbia Foundation awarded Donaldson and his students the Helen Kohn Hennig Prize for their documentary project on the Ward One community in downtown Columbia.
Donaldson received a Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award (2010); the John N. Gardner Inspirational Faculty Award (2015); and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award (2016). From 2010-2016, he served as the Faculty Principal of Preston Residential College. After nine years of service, he was named a trustee emeritus of Wesleyan University in 2015.
A native of Augusta, Ga., Donaldson received an undergraduate degree in history and African American studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. and a Ph.D. in American history from Emory University where he served on the staff of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project. Previously, he held the Thurgood Marshall Fellowship at Dartmouth College and the Susan Biddle Ford Fellowship at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
The Tindall Memorial Lecture is given in honor of Greenvillian and 1942 Furman alum George Brown Tindall (1921-2006), notable American historian and author. He served as president of the Southern Historical Association and was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1958 until his retirement.
For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.