The emergence of Black Studies over the last several decades has had a transformative effect within the academy. Scholarly texts such as the many influential volumes produced by Darlene Clark Hine have anchored that transformation. Additionally, Professor Clark Hine's work instigates a cross-fertilization of American, African American, and black women's history. She is currently the John A. Hannah Professor of History at Michigan State University and is personally responsible for writing or editing nearly thirty books and monographs and more than fifty journal articles and book chapters that document and examine the intricate workings of race, class, and gender in our American past.
Her prodigious output and her mentorship of talented young scholars, exemplary service to the profession as a founder of the Association of Black Women Historians, and her role as a founding editor of the Blacks in the African Diaspora, the ground-breaking Indiana University Press series that generated several award-winning books and the recent completion of terms as president of the American Historical Association and the Southern Historical Association, have earned the highest accolades from her peers across the wide swath of her intellectual purview. In 1987 she was the moving force in the creation of the Comparative History doctoral program at Michigan State.
Clark Hine earned a Ph.D. in history at Kent State University in 1975, and published her first book, Black Victory: The Rise and Fall of the White Primary in Texas, in 1979. Early in her academic career at Purdue University, she launched the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a grassroots effort that recovered and assembled the history of the community work of ordinary black women in Illinois and Indiana. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, it resulted in the publication of When Truth is Told: A History of Black Women's Culture and Community in Indiana, 1875-1950 (1981). In the decades that followed she has become one of the most anthologized American historians and a self-described fervent believer in the power of history. The groundbreaking two-volume encyclopedia Black Women in America (1995) is one of her many collaborations. It has become the most frequently referenced compendium of black women's history. Together with the sixteen-volume Black Women in the United States(1990), the co-edited We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: A Reader in Black Women's History, and the co-authored A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America (1998), her work has helped to popularize and institutionalize black women's history. She is also a co-author of The African-American Odyssey (2002), a textbook, and co-editor of both The Harvard Guide to African American History (2001), and Men's History and Masculinity (1999).
Her current research is on the black professional class in the early to mid-twentieth century, specifically nurses, physicians, and lawyers and the race-defending organizations they created in the period preceding the Civil Rights Movement. An engaging speaker, Clark Hine will focus on different aspects of this work in progress in her two Patten Lectures.
In her presidential address to the Organization of American Historians she stressed the need for historians to cross boundaries and to imagine new and different ways to think about teaching American history. She said, I wish to encourage American historians to engage in more collaborative and comparative work, experiment with new configurations of old fields and advertize and promote the study and teaching of history whenever and wherever possible to diverse audiences. Dr. Darlene Clark Hine, who will join the Department of History at Northwestern University in the fall of 2004, is one who practices what she preaches.
Darlene Clark Hine
John A. Hannah Professor of History, Michigan State University