Office of Public Relations

Dr. Charles Williams featured during Mississippi Humanities Council lecture

The community of Orange Mound, Tenn. will be the topic of conversation during a Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Awards lecture at Rust College 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the Heard Auditorium of the McCarty-Varnell Business, Computer Science & Social Science Center.

The lecture comes as part of the Mississippi Humanities Council’s program, which honors outstanding humanities instructors from each of the state’s universities and colleges. These awards serve simultaneously to celebrate Mississippi’s humanities teachers and to promote the continued interest in the humanities throughout the state.

This year’s Rust College awardee is Dr. Charles Williams, director of research and special projects and the Roy Wilkins and Earnest A. Smith Institute of Health Equity and Social Justice. Williams, a 1969 Rust College graduate, will present the findings of his research which resulted in the book, “African-American Life and Culture in Orange Mound: Case Study of a Black Community in Memphis, Tenn. 1890-1980.

Williams, an anthropologist, earned a master’s degree and doctorate the University of Illinois at Champagne Urbana. This particular community has been of interest to Williams since the 1980s and was part of his dissertation.

“Many people don’t realize that this community was once a plantation,” Williams said of Orange Mound. “Black people in this country came out of slavery and were not welcomed into society. Residents of Orange Mound made it into a place they could be proud of. I think it is transformative. I am fascinated by the study of this community and how it has developed during this 90-year period.”

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held after the lecture. Williams will be publicly recognized at the Mississippi Humanities Council's annual awards event Feb. 13, 2015.

“The MHC believes this is an important way to support humanities teachers, encouraging excellence in teaching, while at the same time recognizing their research and other interests and bringing these myriad, often fascinating topics to public audiences; in other words, we want to promote interaction among professional humanists and a wide audience of Mississippians who can enjoy the fruits of their scholarship,” says Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Dr. David L. Beckley

(662) 252-8000 ext. 4015


Dr. Ishmell Edwards
Vice President, College Relations

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Ms. Dionyal SpencerDirector of Public Relations

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Ms. Kimberly Woods
Admin. Assistant, PR/ Alumni Affairs

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