Two African American Scholars Named to Full Professor Posts

Randal Maurice Jelks was promoted to full professor of American studies and African and African American studies at the University of Kansas. Professor Jelks holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan. He also earned a master’s degree at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Professor Jelks is is the author of the award-winning African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids (University of Illinois Press, 2006) and Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

WilliamsHeather Williams was named the sixth Presidential Term Professor and professor of Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her appointment is effective July 1. Since 2004, Dr. Williams has been a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former assistant attorney general for the State of New York and a former trial lawyer for the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Professor Williams is the author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom (University of North Carolina Press, 2005) and Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2012). Williams is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School and holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University.


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