After 225 Years, Washington and Lee University Names an African American to a Departmental Chair

Ted DeLaney is the new chair of the history department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Founded in 1782, Washington and Lee is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in America. Professor DeLaney is the first African American ever to chair an academic department at the institution.  Professor DeLaney is a native of Lexington. He had planned to attend Morehouse College during the civil rights era but his mother was worried he would become a political activist and wind up in jail. So he stayed home and worked as a janitor at what was then an all-white Washington and Lee University. He later worked as a lab assistant in the biology department.

DeLaney did not enter college until he was 39 years old. After graduating from Washington and Lee at age 41 he taught public school and then earned his Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary. He joined the faculty at Washington and Lee in 1995.