The founding faculty members met at a 1997 NEH Summer Institute on the history of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. All are committed to developing and delivering programs for schoolteachers, students, and college faculty to enhance the awareness, understanding, and teaching of civil rights and social justice issues. The founding faculty is a truly diverse group, in terms of race, gender, age, and academic specialization. This diversity helps the Institute offer programs that examine civil rights issues from many perspectives, broadening participants’ knowledge of American history and how the nation’s democracy functions.
Dr. Jeffrey Kolnick Associate Professor of History Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall, Minnesota
Dr. Kolnick completed his doctoral work at the University of California–Davis, where he studied farmer-labor collations at the end of the nineteenth century. Always interested in the intersections of race and class as dynamic forces in shaping U.S. history and politics, his work in the Hamer Institute has sharpened his thinking on these issues. Kolnick is also working on a project concerning a strange connection between rural peoples in Minnesota and Guatemala.
Dr. Leslie Burl McLemore Professor Emeritus Political Science Jackson State University Jackson, Mississippi
As a teacher, researcher and lecturer, McLemore is an authority on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and was vice-chair of its original delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. Currently, he serves as president of the City Council of Jackson, Mississippi.
McLemore has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts, M.A. degree from Atlanta University and B.A. degree from Rust College, and is an authority on the Southern civil rights movement and social movements in Africa. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African American Research at Harvard University and The Institute for Southern History at John Hopkins University.
He also has served as acting director of the University Center in Jackson, chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council, vice-chair of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and president of the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools. McLemore has devoted time to working with and mentoring young people and is the immediate past president of the Jackson Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America who are mentoring African American males in 10 different public schools in Jackson. He is currently serving as Interim President of Jackson State University.
THANDEKILE R.M. MVUSI
Dr. Mvusi was a 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 Fulbright Senior Lecturer at the University of Swaziland, Southern Africa. A social historian, her research interests include the social construction of race, gender, and class in the southern United States and Southern Africa; the emergence of plantation systems and unfree labor cross-culturally; the African Diaspora; women’s history, and most recently, black feminist thought. She has published in African labor history, served as an editor of a volume on the African Diaspora and the world, and reviewed two museums for the Public Historian. She currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida.