HBCU News

Thirteen Notable HBCU Faculty Members You Should Know

Here are thirteen favorite notables who have graced a Historically Black College or University as a faculty member. Let’s check them out!

  • Joseph Carter Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio to William and Susan Corbin. William and Susan were from Richmond, Virginia, where they were slaves before they moved to Chillcothe. Joseph attended school in Chillicothe where John Mercer Langston were classmates. In 1848, Corbin travled to Louisville, Kentucky as an assistant to Reverend Henry A. Adams as a teacher. He taught school for some years and then attended Ohio University at Athens. In 1872, Corbin was hired as a reporter for the Arkansas Daily Republican and moved to Arkansas. There he was appointed chief clerk of the Little Rock Post Office and in 1873, the state superintendent of public schools which he served for two years. In 1873, with Corbin's urging, the legislative approved the creation of Branch Normal College at Pine Bluff, which is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. It was put into dimissal because Reconstruction overthrown with the state officials lost their jobs. Corbin than taught mathematics for two-years at Lincoln Institute (now Lincoln Univeristy) in Jefferson City, Missouri, beginning in the fall of 1874. He returned to Little Rock in 1875 at the request of Governor Augusta H. Garland and sent to Pine Bluff where he was to establish the Branch Normal College. Corbin was principal of the school until 1902 and was the only teacher from 1875 until 1883.
  • Jospehine Turpin Washington was born in Goochland County, Virginia as the daughter to Augusta A. Turpin and Maria V. Crump. Turpin was first educated at home and later at public schools. After her family moved to Richmond, Virginia she attended the Richmond Institute, later known as the Richmond Theologial Seminary (now Virginia Union University). She was among the 1856 graduating class at Howard University where during summer breaks she clerked for Frederick Douglass, then recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia. After her graduation, she taught mathematics at Howard University until her marriage in 1888. Over her career, Washington served as faculty at Selma University, Tuskegee Institute, where her husband, Samuel Somerville Hawkins Washington, held the position of school physician at Alabama State University and Wilberforce University. She retired in 1934 after twenty years as dean of women at Wilberforce.
  • Alma Adams was born in High Point, North Carolina where she graduated from West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, in 1964. Adams received her bachelor's of arts degree in 1969, and her master's degree in 1972, both from North Carolina A&T University and both in Art Education. She continued her studies to receive her Ph.D. in Art Education/Multicultural Education from Ohio State University in 1981. Adams has been a professor of art at Bennett College in Greensboro, as well as the director of the Steel Hall Art Gallery. In 1990, Adams helped co-found the African-American Atelier. She is currently chairperson of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, which give scholarships to students who are attending one of the North Carolina's HBCU's.
  • Mitchell W. Spellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he attended the Gilbert Academy at the age of 12, and graduated as valedictorian in 1936. He went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude and valedictorian from Dillard University in 1940. In 1944, he graduated from Howard University College of Medicine. Howard University provided him with a home and a mentor, in Charles R. Drew, MD, he began 11 years of post-medicine school surgical training at Cleveland General Hospital, Freedman's Hospital and finished at the University of Minnesota, where he served from 1951 until 1954 as Commonwealth Fund Fellow in surgery and resident in Thoracic Surgery. From 1954 until 1968, in Washington, D.C., he was a member of the surgical faculty at Howard University College of Medicine, ultimately becoming Professor of Surgery and Chief Medicine Officer at DC General Hospital for the Howard University, Division of Surgery. From 1969 until 1978, in Los Angeles, CA, he served as Founding Dean, Executive Dean and Professor of Surgery of Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medicine School, Assistant Dean and Professor of Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine, and Clinical Professor of Surgery at USC School of Medicine.
  • Robert E. Park was born in Harveyville, Pennsylvania where he then attended the University of Michigan studying under Jon Dewey. Dewey introduced Park to Franklin Ford, a reporter, who would help shape Park's career in the coming years. Park became a assistant professor in philosophy at Harvard during 1904-05. Park taught at Harvard until Booker T. Washington invited him to the Tuskegee Institute to work on racial issues in the south. Park was a publicist for the Tuskegee Institute and later became a director of public relations. Over seven years, Park worked for Washington by doing field research and taking courses. After Tuskegee, Park joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago in 1914, first as a lecturer (until 1923), then as a full professor until his retirement in 1933. After leaving the University of Chicago, Park moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He taught at Fisk University until his death in 1944, at age 79.
  • Rode Paige was born in Monticello, Mississippi. He earned his bachelor's degree from Jackson State University. Paige served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 until 1957. Subsequently, he taught health and physical education and coached at Hinds Agricultural High School and Hinds Community College in Mississippi, from 1957 t0 1963. From 1964 to 1968, Paige also served as head football coach at Texas Southern University, and served as the university's athletic director from 1971 to 1980. Paige was a instructor at Texas Southern University from 1980 to 1984 and became the Dean of the College of Education in 1984, where he served until 1994. Paige also established the university's Center for Excellence in Urban Education, a research facility that concentrates on issues related to instruction and management in urban school systems.
  • Rufus Early Clement was born in Salisbury, North Carolina where he begun his career as one of the youngest deans at Livingston College in 1925. In 1930, he earned his doctorate in history. In 1931, after Louisville Municipal College (now Simmons College of Kentucky) opened as a separate and segregated four-year liberal arts college under the administration of the UofL Board of Trustees, Dr. Clement became LMC's first dean. Under his leadership, LMC became a "Class A" accredited institution by hiring better teachers and curriculum enhancement. LMC received full accreditation from the SACSCOC in 1936. In 1937, he became the sixth president of the Atlanta University System which include Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Atlanta University. He became the longest-serving president of Atlanta University, serving from 1937 to 1957 and 1966 to 1967. He held such position until his death. In 1953, Clement was elected to the Atlanta School Board, becoming the first black since Reconstruction to hold public office in Atlanta.
  • T.J. Bryan born in Scotland, Maryland where she earned a bachelor's of arts degree in English from Morgan State College; she graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1970. She earned a master's of arts degree in English from Morgan in 1974, and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1982. From 1978 to 1998, Bryan was a faculty member at Coppin State College (now Coppin State University) in Baltimore, where she rose to the rank of full professor. White a Coppin, she revised and directed the honors program and founded and directed one of the nation's fourteen original Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Programs. Also, during this period, she served in roles such as Chair of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Journalism for three years; Dean of the Honors Division for eight years; and Dean of Arts and Sciences for seven years. In June 2003, Bryan made history when she became the first woman elected by the UNC Board of Governors (BoG) to serve as chancellor of Fayetteville State University. Bryan was also the first African-American woman elected by the BoG to lead a UNC institution.
  • Dr. June H. Brewer was born in Austin, Texas where she received her bachelor's degree from Huston-Tillotson College and a master's degree from Howard University. In 1950, Dr. Brewer was among the first five African-Americans admitted to the University of Texas after the landmark Sweatt V. Painter case opened the university to African-American students but before Herman Sweatt was admitted to the School of Law. Dr. Brewer was a professor Emeritus at Huston-Tillotson University, where she taught for 35 years. Dr. Brewer was Chair of the English Department and the first endowed professor at the university. She launched a project at the Borders Learning Community, that was a mentoring program for African-American boys that drew on male students at Huston-Tillotson University.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Johnston Greene was born in Ansonia, Connecticut. He received his bachelor's of arts from Howard University in 1924 and a master's in history from Columbia University in 1926. From 1928 to 1933, Greene served as a field representative and research assistant to Carter Woodson, the director of the Association for Study of Negro Life and History in Washington, D.C. Lorenzo served as instructor and professor of history at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri from 1933 to 1972. During this period and received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1942. Professor Greene served on a number of committees and associations and was editor of the Midwest Journal from 1947 to 1956. He died on January 24, 1988 in Jefferson City.
  • Mary Jackson McCrorey was born in Athens, Georgia where she attended Atlanta University. She worked in various capacities at Johnson C. Smith University. She married Henry Lawrence McCrorey, who was a president of Johnson C. Smith University, in 1916. She died in 1944, at the age of 76.
  • Dr. Michael J. Bates was born in Rockford, Illinois where he hold a bachelor's of music education degree from Bradley University, a master's of music degree in piano performance and music theory from the University of Illinois, and a doctor of musical arts degree in music education from the University of Memphis. He has previously taught at Southern University, Central State University, and Bradley University. He joined the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2006, under his direction the Vesper Choir toured Italey and performed at total of eight concerts in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. He has conducted the UAPB Vesper Choir in notable performances at: the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC; at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois; and, major worship centers in several states. Dr. Bates retired from UAPB in 2018.
  • Brenda DoHarris was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) where she is a professor of English at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, and is a graduate of Columbia University and Howard University. Her latest novel, Calabash Parkway (2005), is about Guyanese immigrant women in Brooklyn, New York who struggle against the odds to gain legal residence. It won the Guyana Prize for Literature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *