Celebrating 50 Years of Black Faculty Scholarship

Celebrating 50 Years of Black Faculty Scholars in Duke's Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Recognition & Celebrations in 2017

Black Faculty Welcome Reception

Thursday, August 30, 2017
Doris Duke Center Gardens

Inaugural Trinity Distinguished Lecture

Mark Anthony Neal, a professor in the departments of African & African American Studies and English, gave the inaugural Trinity Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, May 4, 2017. An accomplished scholar, Mark Anthony has published in the gold standard African American Studies journals: Souls; African American Review; and Black Renaissance. As of 2017, he has authored five peer-reviewed books.

Through his research, Mark Anthony challenges audiences to engage with the ideologies of black popular culture. He seeks to understand how the music, television, film and literature of African diaspora cultures impact the societal and cultural norms of the United States and around the world. Additionally he hosts the video webcast Left of Black, which is produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke.

He teaches courses on Black Masculinity, Popular Culture, and Digital Humanities, including signature courses on Michael Jackson & the Black Performance Tradition, and The History of Hip-Hop, which he co-teaches with Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder, also known as Patrick Douthit.

  • Dean Valerie Ashby introduced the Trinity Distinguished Lecture Series as a celebration of the contributions of 50 years of Black faculty scholarship in Trinity College. Noting this as a milestone deserving of commemoration, the new annual lecture series honors the excellence, innovation and creativity that stem from a diverse faculty.  Dean Ashby invited attendees to embrace the annual distinguished lecture as an intentional opportunity to contribute to the intellectual climate of the school.

    Dean Valerie Ashby introduced the Trinity Distinguished Lecture Series as a celebration of the contributions of 50 years of Black faculty scholarship in Trinity College. Noting this as a milestone deserving of commemoration, the new annual lecture series honors the excellence, innovation and creativity that stem from a diverse faculty.  Dean Ashby invited attendees to embrace the annual distinguished lecture as an intentional opportunity to contribute to the intellectual climate of the school through provocative, introspective and lively conversation, and to strengthen Trinity’s scholarly community.

  • Mark Anthony Neal, professor in the departments of African & African American Studies and English, gave the inaugural Trinity Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

    Mark Anthony Neal, professor in the departments of African & African American Studies and English, gave the inaugural Trinity Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

  • Mark Anthony Neal's talk was titled "My Mother Gave Me This Big-Ass Name: A Black Scholar in the Mix." According to Neal, the talk title is inspired by his relationship with his late mother, and the fact she encouraged him at a very young age to embrace all three of his names—even to the point of her being conscious that his three names spell out the acronym MAN. His parents were working class, actually working poor, and they invested quite a bit for him to be successful.

    Mark Anthony Neal's talk was titled "My Mother Gave Me This Big-Ass Name: A Black Scholar in the Mix." According to Neal: "The talk title is inspired by my relationship with my late mother, and the fact she encouraged me at a very young age to embrace all three of my names—even to the point of her being conscious that my three names spell out the acronym MAN. My parents were working class, actually working poor, and they invested quite a bit for me to be successful."

  • Through his research and public outreach, Neal challenges audiences to engage with Black popular culture.

    Through his research and public outreach, Neal challenges audiences to engage with Black popular culture. He is the editor and curator of the NewBlackMan (in Exile) blog, he hosts and produces the Left of Black webcast and has a combined Twitter following for the two outlets of nearly 65,000 people. Neal seeks to understand how the music, television, film and literature of African diaspora culture influences the societal and cultural norms of the United States and around the world.

  • As a graduate student in the early 1990s, I was profoundly impacted by public intellectuals like author/social activist bell hooks, professors such as the late African-American historian Manning Marable, and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson, who I am privileged to call a mentor and friend.

    From Mark Anthony Neal: As a graduate student in the early 1990s, I was profoundly impacted by public intellectuals like author/social activist bell hooks, professors such as the late African-American historian Manning Marable, and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson, who I am privileged to call a mentor and friend. They were rock stars. But I was also impacted by journalists, filmmakers, producers and music critics like Nelson George and Greg Tate; newspaper sportswriter Mike Lupica, and satirist Russell Baker, whose "Saturday Observer" column in the New York Times was a favorite of mine as a teen. In short, I wanted to be read.

  • Quote from Mark Anthony Neal: I largely interpret the world through music.

    Quote from Mark Anthony Neal: I largely interpret the world through music. My taste can be eclectic: everything from Kendrick Lamar to classic ‘70s Chicago, The Soul Stirrers, Miles Davis, Patsy Cline and Erykah Badu—but more specifically as one long musical mix. I am thankful for the gift that was my father’s own love of music. I still have cassette tapes—pause button mix-tapes that I made as a teenager in the Bronx, more than 30 years ago.

  • With a large following in social media and a capacity for offering challenging perspectives on contemporary issues, Mark Anthony Neal is regularly sought out for comments in national media.

    With a large following in social media and a capacity for offering challenging perspectives on contemporary issues, Mark Anthony Neal is regularly sought out for comments in national media. Below, in an opinion piece published in The Detroit Free Press and other newspapers, Neal takes on why the racial taunting of Adam Jones in Boston’s Fenway Park shows how race remains a pressing issue for baseball and America, 70 years after Jackie Robinson’s debut. Mark is shown here talking with a faculty member after the lecture.

  • From Mark Anthony Neal: The biggest influence on me growing up was the late television journalist Gil Noble whose public affairs program “Like It Is”, a public affairs television program focused on issues relevant to the African-American community, was my introduction to Black politics.

    From Mark Anthony Neal: The biggest influence on me growing up was the late television journalist Gil Noble whose public affairs program “Like It Is”, a public affairs television program focused on issues relevant to the African-American community, was my introduction to Black politics. The first time I saw a clip of Malcolm X was while watching “Like It Is.” My own program, Left of Black, is largely a tribute to Noble's influence on me. My career has largely been devoted to idea that some of the work that I produced would be of value to folks like my parents, who were never going to experience an elite institution like Duke, or in some cases weren’t afforded even a nominal public education. I never lost sight that I am a working class cat from the Bronx, a child of labor unions, the Third Avenue El and soul music on transistor radio in the summer while sitting on the stoop.

  • I was a first-generation student (my mother and I were in college at the same time) and a state college dude (shout out to SUNY).

    From Mark Anthony Neal: My mother hoped that I would grow into the name she gave me. I was a first-generation student (my mother and I were in college at the same time) and a state college dude (shout out to SUNY). My father was a so-called “functional illiterate,” yet still my first and most cherished interlocutor. I hope that I’ve lived up to their hopes.

An Evening of Fellowship & Conversation
in Recognition & Celebration

Dean Valerie Ashby hosted a community celebration for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Black faculty on December 12, 2016.

  • Left to right: Joseph Winters, Gary Bennett, Tsitsi Jaji, Andrea Woods Valdes, Paula McClain, Jeff Forbes, Calvin Howell

  • Left to right: Paul Mitaari Magwene, Melvin Peters, Andrea Woods Valdes, Anne-Maria Makhulu

  • Left to right: Tsitsi Jaji, Anthony M. Kelley, and Thavolia Glymph.

  • Left to right: James R. Matory, Gregson Davis and Arlie Petters

  • Left to right: Charmaine Royal, Melvin Peters and Beverly McIver

Samuel DuBois Cook

Honoring a Legacy

Samuel DuBois Cook, Ph.D. became the first African American professor to hold regular rank facuty appointment at any predominantly white college or university in the South when he was appointed professor in the Duke University political science department in 1966. Nine years later, Cook was chosen to serve as president of Dillard University, a historically black liberal arts institution in New Orleans, where he served as president for 22 years before retiring in 1997. After his retirement, Cook served as a member of the Duke University Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1993. At the end of this time, he was named a Trustee Emeritus.

To highlight and continue Cook's focus on the Black community and the inclusion of all members of the Duke family, former Vice President Myrna Adams, staff and faculty members founded the Samuel DuBois Cook Society in 1977.  Cook, although retired, continues to attend the Annual Samuel DuBois Cook Society Awards Dinner and to provide inspiration for our continued journey here at Duke.

20 Years of the Samuel DuBois Cook Society

The Samuel DuBois Cook Society, celebrating 20 years in 2017, recognizes, celebrates, and affirms the presence of African American students, faculty, and staff at Duke University. Members of the Society commit themselves to the objectives to which Dr. Cook dedicated his professional life: to nurture a sense of community and belonging for African Americans; to translate the promise and potential of African Americans at Duke into fulfillment and actuality; to foster positive and constructive interpersonal and intergroup relations within both Duke University's and Durham's African American communities; to cultivate positive relations between African Americans and other ethnic, racial and national groups on the basis of an enlightened appreciation and knowledge of our historic interdependence. In 2017, the Society named a faculty award in honor of the late historian, Dr. Raymond Gavins. The Society is administered by the Ben Reese, Vice President for Institutional Equity & Chief Diversity Officer, in the Office of Institutional Equity.

Inaugural Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Awards

Wahneema LubianoWahneema Lubiano, Associate Professor, African & African American Studies

Wahneema's research and teaching interests include black American literature, black cultural studies, literary theory, semiotics, black popular culture, and feminist studies. She is the editor of and contributor to The House That Race Built and has been published in Cultural Critique, Social Text, New American Literary History, Callaloo, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and other journals. She teaches a graduate seminar entitled “Teaching Race, Teaching Gender,” that is legendary, drawing students from several university departments, and other universities (NCCU, UNC, NC State) to attend. She regularly helps student activists to make Duke a better place for learning and living, and regular serves as advisor, mentor, and teacher as well as friend and colleague. One of her students said: "There is no other faculty member who I know of at Duke who embodies the spirit of Professor Raymond Gavins more fully than Wahneema Lubiano. Her humility and fierce devotion to her students and to her sense of justice inform her teaching, her thinking and her daily life practices, permeating all of her interactions. She is an inspiration to all of us who are lucky enough to be challenged to take on our tired ways of thinking, to restructure and reorient our teaching practices towards creating and holding space for those who are most vulnerable.”

David Malone, Professor of the Practice, Program in Education, Director of the Duke Service Learning Program

David joined the Duke faculty in 1984 after serving for many years as a school psychologist and as a middle school teacher. He teaches undergraduate courses which focus on K-12 education, psychology, and social equity issues that arise in the schooling process. David has been active in the Cook Society since its inception, and served for several years as co-convenor. For the past 30 years, he has been part of a collaborative effort at Duke to infuse experiential learning into the curriculum by developing community-based learning experiences for Duke undergraduates. He has been involved with the creation of engaged-learning initiatives such as Duke Engage, Duke Immerse, and the Duke Service-Learning Program. Currently, as Director of Duke Service-Learning, David works closely with colleagues at Duke and in the Durham public schools to connect academic learning with community service experiences. He helped develop Partners for Success, a program in which Duke students help children who require assistance in reading, math, and academic learning strategies. Duke offers more than 65 service-learning course sections that engage about 1200 Duke students each year in community-based learning and service. David and colleagues regularly present aspects of their work at regional and national conferences on community engagement. His nominator wrote: “David IS Duke. He represents the best of a faculty member in scholarship, teaching, and service: his scholarship informs his teaching, his teaching is meaningfully related to his scholarship, and his service is connected to the intellectual issues he is most passionate about.”

Cook Society Award Winners: Professor of the Practice David Malone (Education), President Richard Brodhead, Pratt graduate student Juan Ramirez, Trinity undergraduate student Henry Washington, Trinity Technology Services Dean Ed Gomes, Professor Wahneema Lubiano (AAAS), FMD staff member Leonidas Nelson

2017 Cook Society Award Winners: Professor of the Practice David Malone (Education), President Richard Brodhead, Pratt graduate student Juan Ramirez, Trinity undergraduate student Henry Washington, Trinity Technology Services Dean Ed Gomes, Professor Wahneema Lubiano (AAAS), FMD staff member Leonidas Nelson

Black Faculty of Trinity College in 2016

We recognize the outstanding contributions of our Black faculty members with primary appointments in Trinity College as of 2016. Below, scholars are listed alphabetically, by their title in 2016, their home department and the year they joined Duke University.

Lamonte AidooLamonte Aidoo
Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor
Romance Studies, 2012
Ayana ArceAyana Arce
Associate Professor
Physics, 2010
Valerie S. AshbyValerie Ashby
Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor
Chemistry, 2015
Lee BakerLee D. Baker
Mrs. Alexander Hehmeyer Professor
Cultural Anthropology, 1999
Gary Bennett
Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor
Psychology & Neuroscience, 2009
Theophilus BensonTheophilus Benson
Assistant Professor
Computer Science, 2013
Eduardo Bonilla-SilvaEduardo Bonilla-Silva
Professor
Sociology, 2005
John Brown Jr.John V. Brown Jr.
Associate Professor of the Practice
Music, 2004
Tyson BrownTyson Brown
Assistant Professor
Sociology, 2016
Linda BurtonLinda Burton
Dean of the Social Sciences
James B. Duke Professor
Sociology, 2006
Jasmine CobbJasmine Cobb
Assistant Professor
African & African American Studies, 2015
Michaeline CrichlowMichaeline Crichlow
Professor
African & African American Studies, 2005
Harry L. DavidsonHarry L. Davidson
Professor of the Practice
Music, 1999
Gregson DavisN. Gregson Davis
Andrew W. Mellon Research Professor of the Humanities
Classical Studies, 1994
Thomas DeFrantzThomas DeFrantz
Professor
African and African American Studies, 2011
Jeffrey ForbesJeffrey Forbes
Associate Professor of the Practice
Computer Science, 2001
Sarah GaitherSarah Gaither
Assistant Professor
Psychology & Neuroscience, 2016
Barry GasparBarry Gaspar
Professor
History, 1983
Thavolia GlymphThavolia Glymph
Associate Professor
African & African American Studies, 2000
Angel HarrisAngel L. Harris
Professor
Sociology, 2013
Kerry HaynieKerry Haynie
Associate Professor
Political Science, 2003
Karla  HollowayKarla Holloway
James B. Duke Professor
English, 1993
Calvin HowellCalvin Howell
Professor
Physics, 1985
Tsitsi JajiTsitsi Jaji
Associate Professor
English, 2015
Anthony KelleyAnthony Kelley
Associate Professor of the Practice
Music, 2000
Adriane Lentz-SmithAdriane Lentz-Smith
Associate Professor
History, 2007
Mbaye LoMbaye Lo
Associate Professor of the Practice
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 2008
Wahneema LubianoWahneema Lubiano
Associate Professor
African & African American Studies, 1996
Nathaniel MacKeyNathaniel MacKey
Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing
English, 2011
Paul  MagwenePaul Mitaari Magwene
Associate Professor
Biology, 2004
Anne-Maria MaklhuluAnne-Maria Makhulu
Associate Professor
Cultural Anthropology, 2005
James Lorand MatoryJames Lorand Matory
Lawrence Richardson Professor
Cultural Anthropology, 2009
Paula McClainPaula D. McClain
Professor
Political Science, 2000
Laurie McIntoshLaurie N. McIntosh
Assistant Professor
Cultural Anthropology, 2010
Beverly McIverBeverly McIver
Esbenshade Professor of the Practice
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, 2014
Mark Anthony NealMark Anthony Neal
Professor
African & African American Studies, 2004
Melvin PetersMelvin Peters
Professor
Religious Studies, 1983
Arlie PettersArlie Petters
Dean of Academic Affairs, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Benjamin Powell Professor
Mathematics, 1998
Richard PowellRichard Powell
John Spencer Bassett Professor
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, 1989
Charmaine RoyalCharmaine DM Royal
Associate Professor
African & African American Studies, 2009
Modibo SidibeModibo Sidibe
Assistant Professor
Economics, 2014
Martin Smith
Assistant Professor of the Practice
Education, 2016
Ava VinesettAva Vinesett
Associate Professor of the Practice
Dance, 2001
Makeba WilbournMakeba Wilbourn
Assistant Professor
Psychology & Neuroscience, 2008
Joseph WintersJoseph Winters
Assistant Professor
Religious Studies, 2015
Andrea ValdesAndrea Woods Valdés
Associate Professor of the Practice
Dance, 2009
   

Snapshot of Black Faculty Accomplishments

Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • 2015 MELUS Awards for Distinguished Contribution in Ethnic Studies and for Lifetime Achievement, Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, Karla Holloway
  • 2014 Distinguished Career Award, American Sociological Association, Family Section, Linda Burton
  • 2008 Member, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Queen of England, Arlie Petters

Professional Society Leadership

  • President, Society of Behavioral Medicine, 2017-2018, Gary Bennett
  • 109th President of the American Sociological Association, 2017-2018, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Early Career Awards & Recognition

  • 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), Makeba Wilborn
  • 2013 Thomas Langford Lectureship Award, Duke University, Charmaine DM Royal
  • 2010 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oak Ridge Associated Universities), Makeba Wilborn
  • 1998 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Arlie Petters

Professional Recognition

  • 2014 C. Tracy Orleans Distinguished Service Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Gary Bennett
  • 2013 Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly excellence in the Field of American Art History, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Richard Powell
  • 2013 Inducted into the Sociological Research Association, Linda Burton
  • 2013 Fellow, American Antiquarian Society, Thavolia Glymph
  • 2013 Wiley Alexis Walker Award for Outstanding Research in Family Science, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Linda Burton
  • 2012 James A. Porter Award for Excellence in African American Art Scholarship, Howard University, Richard Powell
  • 2012 Hip-Hop Scholar of the Year; Words, Beats and Life Foundation, Mark Anthony Neal
  • 2012 North Carolina Artists Fellowship. North Carolina Arts Council, Andrea Woods-Valdes
  • 2011 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, American Sociological Association, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • 2010 Elizabeth Narcessian Award for Outstanding Educational Achievements in the Field of Pain, American Pain Society, Gary Bennett
  • 2009 Oliver C. Cox Award from the American Sociological Association, Section on Racial Minorities, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • 2009 Fellow, The Hastings Center, Karla Holloway
  • 2009 Greenwall Faculty Scholar in Bioethics, Greenwall Foundation, Charmaine DM Royal
  • 2008 Director’s Choice Third Place Award, 28th Black Maria Film & Video Festival, Anthony Kelley
  • 2006 Fellow, American Physical Society, Calvin Howell
  • 2002 Blackwell-Tapia Prize, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Arlie Petters
  • 2005 Legacy Award, Family Research Consortium, Linda Burton
  • 2005 de la Torre Bueno Prize, Society of Dance Scholars, Thomas DeFrantz
  • 2003 Errol Hill Award, American Society for Theatre Research, Thomas DeFrantz
  • 1996 American Family Therapy Academy Award for Innovative Contributions to Family Research, Linda Burton

Best Paper Awards

  • 2013 Best Paper Award, American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics Research Section, Kerry Haynie
  • 2010 IMC Best Paper Award, Theophilus Benson
  • 2009 Top Ranked Paper at ACM SIGCOMM WREN Workshop, Theophilus Benson

Book Awards

  • 2016 First Book Award, African Literature Association, Tsitsi Jaji
  • 2014 George and Ann Richard Prize, Journal of the Civil War Era, Thavolia Glymph
  • 2013 Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North American, Society for the Anthropology of North America, Lee D. Baker
  • 2010 Honor Book Award, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Adriane Lentz-Smith
  • 2009 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, ILR School, Cornell, Thavolia Glymph
  • 2009 Finalist, Frederick Douglas Book Prize, Yale, Thavolia Glymph
  • 2006 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award Finalist, Karla Holloway

Poetry Awards

  • 2015 Bollingen Price for American Poetry, Nathaniel MacKey
  • 2014 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Nathaniel MacKey
  • 2006 National Book Award for Poetry, Nathaniel MacKey
  • 2001 Ambassador Book Award for Poetry, Nathaniel MacKey
  • 1993 Whiting Awards, Nathaniel MacKey
  • 1984 National Poetry Series, Nathaniel MacKey

Diversity/Inclusion Awards

  • 2014 (Department of Sociology) Dean’s Award: Inclusive Excellence, Duke Graduate School, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • 2012 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, Duke University, Kerry Haynie
  • 2011 Caribbean American Heritage Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, Arlie Petters
  • 2008 Samuel Dubois Cook Award for Service, Calvin Howell
  • 2008 The Twenty-Five Greatest Scientists of African Ancestry, Human Relations Associates, Arlie Petters
  • 2006 Portrait Collection of Outstanding African-Americans in Science, Engineering and Medicine; National Academy of Sciences, Arlie Petters

Teaching/ Education/Mentoring Awards

  • 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Duke Graduate School, Kerry Haynie
  • 2011 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Duke Graduate School, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • 2011 Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, Duke University Alumni Association, Anthony Kelley
  • 2010 Robert B. Cox Teaching Award, Duke University, Mark Anthony Neal
  • 2007 Richard K. Lublin Award for Teaching, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke, Lee D. Baker

Distinguished Alumni Awards

  • 2009 Wilbur Cross Medal for Distinguished Alumni, Yale University, Richard Powell
  • 2009 Ethel Martus Lawther Alumni Award. University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Health and Human Performance, Ava Vinesett
  • 2009 Outstanding Alumna of the Year – Psychology. California State University, Fullerton, Makeba Wilborn
 

 

Selected Videos

In Memory of Raymond Gavins

Raymond Gavins, a distinguished professor of history, died on May 22, 2016. He left a legacy of “firsts” and was an inspiration to his colleagues and students.

In 1970, Gavins became the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences.  He also was the first African-American to join the Duke history faculty. A veteran of the Civil Rights movement who joined scholarship with activism, he was known for his mentorship to young faculty and students at Duke and institutions across the country. He mentored countless graduate and undergraduate students alike in a career that spanned forty-five years at Duke. 

Gavins’ academic specialties were African-American and American history. He was promoted to associate professor in 1977 and full professor in 1992.  His oral history collaboration with researchers at Duke and elsewhere greatly expanded the range of voices available to scholars studying the stories of the Civil Rights era.

He launched the Department of History’s Oral History Program, and contributed greatly to the Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations, and the Behind the Veil Project of the Center for Documentary Studies.

Behind The Veil includes more than 1,350 oral history interviews with African Americans from across the South, resulting in a new source base for documenting life during the Jim Crow era. Out of this project, Gavins asked how African Americans defined citizenship in the Jim Crow era and the ways they attempted to demand fulfillment of the promises of the Civil Rights constitutional amendments of the Reconstruction period.

He authored two books, co-edited another and published 77 scholarly articles, book chapters, essays, and reviews. His most recent book, “The Cambridge Guide to African American History,” was published in February. It explored the means and strategies that African Americans used to pursue recognition as full citizens of the United States.

Co-recipient of the 1996 Oral History Association Distinguished Oral History Project Award and the 2002 Southern Regional Council Lillian Smith Book Award, Gavins also received the 2008 Southern Historical Association John W. Blassingame Award “in recognition of his distinguished scholarship and mentorship in African American history.”

A native of Atlanta, Gavins attended Virginia Union University in Richmond as an undergraduate. After graduating in 1964, he broke color barriers to join the graduate program at the University of Virginia. His arrival at Charlottesville came just two years after rioting during the desegregation of state universities in Mississippi and Alabama. Gavins said he faced struggles but, like many other pioneering African-American students throughout the South at the time, succeeded in winning support through hard work.