Herbert G. Ruffin II

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.

William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934)

William Monroe Trotter was a major civil rights activist in the early twentieth century, known primarily for launching the first major challenge to the political dominance of Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington and as an inspiration for the formation of the National Association for the … Read MoreWilliam Monroe Trotter (1872-1934)

William Levi Dawson (1898-1990)

William Levi Dawson was an African American composer, choir director, and professor specializing in black religious folk music. He was born on September 26, 1899, in Anniston, Alabama to Eliza Starkey and George Dawson, the first of their seven children. His father, a former slave, … Read MoreWilliam Levi Dawson (1898-1990)

Kenneth S. [“Kenny”] Washington (1918-1971)

Kenneth S. Washington was one of the first black college football stars on the West Coast and one of two African Americans to reintegrate the National Football League (NFL) when he joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1946. His stardom as a running back began … Read MoreKenneth S. [“Kenny”] Washington (1918-1971)

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)

Mary McLeod Bethune was a prominent educator, political leader, and social visionary whose early twentieth century activism for black women and civil rights laid the foundation for the modern civil rights era. Inspired by leaders such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Josephine St. Pierre-Ruffin, Bethune … Read MoreMary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)

Lester Blackwell Granger (1896-1976)

Lester Blackwell Granger was a social worker and civil rights and labor rights activist best known for leading the National Urban League (NUL) from 1941 to 1961. Granger was born on September 16, 1896, in Newport News, Virginia, to William “Ran” Randolph and Mary Louise … Read MoreLester Blackwell Granger (1896-1976)

Isaiah T. Montgomery (1847-1924)

Isaiah Thornton Montgomery was an African American leader best known for founding the all-black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi and for his public endorsement of black disenfranchisement. Montgomery was born enslaved on May 21, 1847 to Benjamin Thornton and Mary Lewis Montgomery on the Hurricane … Read MoreIsaiah T. Montgomery (1847-1924)

E. Arnold Bertonneau (1834-1912)

Arnold Bertonneau was a New Orleans wine merchant, black soldier, and is best known as one of the first African American participants in Louisiana’s Reconstruction period. In 1862-63, Bertonneau was a captain in the 1st Regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards. This volunteer black regiment … Read MoreE. Arnold Bertonneau (1834-1912)