History Department
History Department

Professor Emeritus Alton Hornsby, Jr., first African American graduate of UT History’s Ph.D. program, 1939-2017

Mon, September 4, 2017
Professor Emeritus Alton Hornsby, Jr., first African American graduate of UT History’s Ph.D. program, 1939-2017
Alton Hornsby, Jr., Fuller E. Callaway Professor Emeritus, Morehouse College

The History Department mourns the loss of Dr. Alton Hornsby, Jr., Fuller E. Callaway Professor Emeritus at Morehouse College, who passed September 1, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Dr. Hornsby was the first African American graduate of our department’s Ph.D. program, earning his degree in 1969. He served as History Department Chair at Morehouse for thirty years," said Jacqueline Jones, Professor and Chair of the History Department; Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History and Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History. "He also edited the Journal of African American History (formerly Journal of Negro History) for many years” 

“As many of you will recall, we welcomed Dr. Hornsby back to UT in 2011, when he served as Littlefield Lecturer. He was a distinguished scholar of African-American history, with specialties in southern history and the history of African American leadership and activism. We extend our condolences to Dr. Hornsby’s friends and family.”

Alton Hornsby Jr. earned a Bachelors degree in history from Morehouse College and M.A. and Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he held a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Southern Education Foundation Fellowship and a University Fellowship. Professor Hornsby is Fuller E. Callaway Professor of History at Morehouse College. For 25 years (between 1976 and 2001), he edited the Journal of Negro History. He has also edited “The Papers of John and Lugenia Burns Hope” for Blackwell’s Companion to African American History and the Dictionary of Twentieth Century Black Leaders. In 2004, he wrote the Introduction for the 17th edition of Who’s Who Among African Americans. Among his most recent works are A Short History of Black Atlanta, 1847-1990, "Southerners Too?: Essays on the Black South, 1773-1990," for the Dictionary of Twentieth Century Black Leaders (editor-in-chief and contributor), The Atlanta Urban League, 1920-2000 (with Alexa B. Henderson; winner of the Adele Mellon Prize for distinguished scholarship), A Biographical History of African Americans, and From the Grassroots: Profiles of Contemporary Black Leaders (with Angela M. Hornsby),

Hornsby has been president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists and the Southern Conference on African American Studies. He has served on the executive council of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the Southern Historical Association.

In January 2016, the Atlanta History Center interviews Professor Hornsby at Morehouse College for the Voices Across the Color Line Oral History Project. In the interview, Dr. Hornsby discusses his involvement in the Atlanta Student Movement. He recalls picketing businesses that would not sell to African Americans or only offered limited employment to black applicants. Hornsby describes his involvement with the march on the Georgia State Capitol in May of 1960; discusses his family background and growing up in Atlanta; and recalls his fight against segregated seating on public transportation. He ends the interview with his assessment of the leadership conflict between older and younger leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and recounts the historical context of race relations in Atlanta. Watch his interview here

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