Dr. Calvin White, Jr., an associate professor of history and the chair of the Department of History at the University of Arkansas, will be the keynote speaker at the Pan-African Celebration this weekend in Monticello.
The celebration is Saturday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Sadie T. Johnson Center, located at 707 U.S. Highway 278 East.
Dr. White, a native Arkansan raised in the Delta town of Stuttgart, is a first generation college student who attended the University of Central Arkansas where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Mississippi.
Currently an associate professor of history and the chair of the Department of History at the University of Arkansas, Dr. White is the former director of the African and African American Studies Program.
His research focuses on the intersectionality of class, respectability, and the efforts of racial uplift in the development of African Americans’ religious traditions and racial identity in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta.
Understanding the poverty of the Delta firsthand, Dr. White has never forgotten the transformative nature of education. “Education is the great and only equalizer,” Dr. White said. “It only takes into account how hard you are willing to work and endure.”
While maintaining an active research agenda, Dr. White still believes in community engagement and most of all, student mentorship. Delivering speeches statewide, he is a consummate advocate for equal-access opportunities, and continues to promote educational opportunities for all, especially first-generation, low-income, and disadvantaged students.
Dr. White is the recipient of several national fellowships, and has served as a Gilder-Lehrman Fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. Recognized by the University of Arkansas administration for his leadership, he was named a Fellow of the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program for 2012-2013, and a Provost Lecturer for 2013-2014.
Committed to the advancement of education and social justice, Dr. White’s leadership and service extends beyond the campus of the University of Arkansas into all corners of the state. In 2012, University of Arkansas Press published his book The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ.
Recognizing his commitment to education in the state of Arkansas, Calvin White, Jr. was named to the Board of Directors for the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.