The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 10 Out Now!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

The history department using Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professorship of History Fund to bring awareness

Photo+by+Anna+Lee+Hoffman.%0AGuest+speaker+Dr.+Thavolia+Glymph.+The+history+department+has+utilized+the+Lewis+P.+Jones+Visiting+Professorship+of+History+Fund+to+bring+in+guest+speakers+to+highlight+African+American+history.
Photo by Anna Lee Hoffman. Guest speaker Dr. Thavolia Glymph. The history department has utilized the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professorship of History Fund to bring in guest speakers to highlight African American history.

As Wofford increases its involvement in diversity and inclusion, many departments are putting in their own efforts to make sure that the school sees change. On top of discussing these issues in courses, the history department is finding new ways to stand in solidarity with minority groups. 

One of the main ways that it has been able to do that is through incorporating more representation in its department. This can be seen in many ways, but most notably through the speaker series that they have brought to campus within the past year. 

Using the funds for the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professorship of History, the department has decided to forgo having a visiting professor teach a class on campus.

“The history department used funds they normally use to bring a Jones Professor to campus (not possible because of COVID-19) instead reallocating the funds this academic year for a speaker series to highlight African American history and historians,” Courtney Dorroll, associate professor of religion and interim co-director of the Center for Innovation and Learning, said.

Story continues below advertisement

The goal of the history department is to bring awareness to the history of the United States, in order to better understand how it continues to affect our society today. In this way, they are trying to bring visibility to what needs to be done in the future to ensure that history does not repeat itself. 

Although this speaker series is just now coming to fruition, it has been in the works since the beginning of the pandemic. The history department has worked diligently to propose this idea and bring it to life. 

“The genesis of the idea came in the summer of 2020 in the context of the protests over the murder of George Floyd,” said Mark Byrnes, associate professor of history and chair of the history department. “The department began having discussions on what we could do to respond, and we came up with this idea of a year-long series of talks.”

Through this series, the history department has been able to look at the problems of history in order to confront them. 

A statement issued by the department read, “The problems of contemporary American society are deeply rooted in American history — in this case, in the history of race in America.”

As a result of the problems that they have observed, the department has sought after experts to discuss what racism has looked like in the past. Through the implementation of this series, the history department has been able to highlight many prominent speakers. 

“We sponsored talks by Dr. Sylvanie Diouf on ‘Out of Slavery and Into the Wild: Maroons in the United States’ in September, Dr. Eddie Glaude on ‘James Baldwin and African-American History’ in October, and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, Dr. Thavolia Glymph on ‘Autobiographies of Grief: Black Women in the Civil War,’” said Byrnes.

By bringing African American scholars on campus, the history department seeks to allow history to be rewritten by the African American community. 

Although this is a small step, it allows students throughout the campus to become more educated on the history of the United States and what they can do in the future to make sure that we can move forward as a society. 

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal