Matthew C. Whitaker

Academic Historian

Matthew C. Whitaker is currently ASU Foundation Professor of History and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.  He earned a BA in sociology and a BA in history at Arizona State University, where he also completed an MA in United States history.  Whitaker earned a PhD in history, with honors, at Michigan State University. He specializes in U.S. history, African American history and life, civil rights, race relations, social movements, sports and society, and the American West. Whitaker is the editor of three books, including Hurricane Katrina: America’s Unnatural Disaster, and he is the author of Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West. His new book is Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama winner of Tufts University’s Center for the study of Race and Democracy’s Bayard Rustin Book Award.  He has also authored a number of award- winning journal articles, numerous encyclopedia essays, and over 20 opinion pieces.  Whitaker has won 30 awards for his research, teaching, and service, and has given motivational speeches and lectured in nations throughout the world, including Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Ghana, Ireland and Liberia.  His commentaries have been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, WVON, KEMET, and other media outlets.  He is also the owner and CEO of The Whitaker Group, L.L.C., a human relations, cultural competency, and diversity consulting firm. Whitaker serves on numerous boards, including the distinguished International Advisory Board of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, and INROADS.

McNary, Arizona

Image Ownership: Public Domain Tom Pollock, a Flagstaff, Arizona businessman, built the Apache Lumber Company on land surrounded by the Apache Indian Reservation in northeast Arizona in 1916. Pollock named the site “Cooley,” after prominent Army scout and Arizona trailblazer, Corydon E. Cooley. Despite Pollock’s … Read MoreMcNary, Arizona

Eleanor Dickey Ragsdale (1926-1998)

Eleanor Dickey Ragsdale was one of the most distinguished activists, educators, and entrepreneurs in Arizona history. In 1947 she graduated from the historically black Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. The university’s main mission was to cultivate African American teachers, who would become leaders in their local … Read MoreEleanor Dickey Ragsdale (1926-1998)

Sr., Cloves Campbell (1930-2004)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Cloves Campbell, Sr. was born in Elizabeth, Louisiana. He moved to Arizona in 1945 and earned a B.A. in Education from Arizona State University. Campbell was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1962, and after two terms he became … Read MoreSr., Cloves Campbell (1930-2004)

Phoenix’s Thanksgiving Day Riot, 1942

On Thanksgiving 1942, an off-duty black soldier struck a black woman with a bottle following an argument in a Phoenix café.  An MP attempted to arrest the soldier, but he resisted with a knife.  When the MP shot and wounded the soldier, black servicemen protested.  … Read MorePhoenix’s Thanksgiving Day Riot, 1942