Academic Historian

Herb Ruffin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Syracuse University.  He holds a Ph.D. in American History from Claremont Graduate University, California. His research examines the African American experiences in Silicon Valley (California), San Antonio (Texas), and in particular, the process of Black suburbanization in the American West from 1945-2010.  Professor Ruffin’s book Uninvited Neighbors: African Americans in Silicon Valley, 1769-1990 was published by the Oklahoma University Press in 2014. In addition, he has authored numerous articles, book reviews, and online academic publications that focus on African Diaspora History and Culture, the Black West, Urban Studies and Social Movements. Moreover, Ruffin serves as an appointed committee member on the Organization of American Historians Committees of Committees, and on BlackPast.org’s advisory board. He has also been an active consultant in regard to organizing curriculum, public exhibits, and historical presentations on Africa and African Diaspora history and culture, including work with the Smithsonian Institution, Africa Initiative, and serving as U.S. Historian Delegate to South Africa.

North from Mexico: The First Black Settlers in the U.S. West

The first Black settlers in what is now the western United States were Spanish speakers who came north from what is now central Mexico. Their roots there began in 1519, when Black men were among the Spanish conquistadores who invaded and destroyed the Aztec Empire, … Read MoreNorth from Mexico: The First Black Settlers in the U.S. West

FDR’s Black Cabinet (1933-1945)

The Black Cabinet was an informal advisory group of African American civil servants who lobbied for African Americans to receive equal access to federal benefits and employment and job training programs associated with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Often promoting programs closely aligned with the … Read MoreFDR’s Black Cabinet (1933-1945)

We Can Best Honor Our Past by Not Burying It: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

In the article that follows Syracuse University historian Herbert G. Ruffin II takes us back in time to describe the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 on the eve of its 100-year anniversary. African American life and the passing down of wealth from one generation to … Read MoreWe Can Best Honor Our Past by Not Burying It: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

Ples Sterling Stuckey, Jr. (1932-2018)

Ples Sterling Stuckey, Jr. was a professor of history best known for his impact on shifting slavery studies from examinations ancillary to enslaved African American lives to the study of their history, culture, and sociopolitical expression as central to the understanding of African American and … Read MorePles Sterling Stuckey, Jr. (1932-2018)

John Lovelle Withers, II (1948- )

In 2007, Ambassador John L. Withers II, a second-generation diplomat, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as ambassador to Albania. Withers was born in 1948 in Guilford, North Carolina, to John L. Withers, Sr. and Daisy P. Withers. His father had briefly worked as a political science professor … Read MoreJohn Lovelle Withers, II (1948- )

Black Lives Matter, Syracuse Chapter (2015- )

Black Lives Matter Protesters in Syracuse, NY, June 6, 2020 “Image Ownership: Scott Schild” The Syracuse, New York Chapter of Black Lives Matter was founded by public school educator and community actor Anthony Harper on August 6, 2015. The founding occurred several weeks after Black … Read MoreBlack Lives Matter, Syracuse Chapter (2015- )

Black Lives Matter: The Growth of a New Social Justice Movement

In the article below, Syracuse University historian Herbert Ruffin explores the rapid rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2013 as the most recent development in the ongoing struggle for racial and social justice in the United States. In the summer of 2013, three … Read MoreBlack Lives Matter: The Growth of a New Social Justice Movement

Clementa C. Pinckney (1973-2015)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Clementa Carlos “Clem” Pinckney, was an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) pastor, South Carolina State Senator, and rising star in the national Democratic Party. On June 17, 2015, he and eight local black leaders were assassinated in Charleston, South Carolina, during Bible … Read MoreClementa C. Pinckney (1973-2015)