George White, Jr., Ph. D

Dr. White is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research interests include the impact of Race upon American Foreign Policy, urban youth culture, and the use popular culture as a tool for understanding history. He is currently documenting the life of one of the first African American military chaplains, as well as editing several manuscripts which address American foreign policy toward Africa for publication.

George has continued apace with both scholarly and community activities.  In addition to making final revisions on his upcoming book “Holding the Line: Race, Racism, and American Foreign Policy Toward Africa, 1953-1961,” George received a contract from the University Press of Kentucky for a long-term publication regarding the historical development of Black-owned businesses in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Over the course of the Spring, George delivered three invited lectures on the foreign policy significance of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education at universities in Tennessee and Georgia. He delivered a paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Military History regarding his research on the life of Rev. Robert B. Dokes, a Black Baptist minister from Paterson, NJ who also served as an Army chaplain during World War II.  Given his legal training, George has served as a legal consultant on two “disparity studies”, one commissioned by the Metro Government of Nashville, Tennessee and the other launched by Montgomery County, Maryland.  Disparity studies analyze the impact of race and gender on public contracting. Typically, these studies seek to determine if there are any disparities in the number of contracts or dollar values of contracts awarded to White male-owned firms and those firms owned by women or minorities.  Finally, George presented his paper on the international significance of Brown at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference. And in January 2005, George presented a paper on the Eisenhower administration’s response to African decolonization at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association.  His AHA paper was adapted from his journal article “Little Wheel Blues: John Lee Hooker, the Eisenhower Administration, and African Decolonization.”  “Little Wheel Blues” was conceived and written while George served as the Dodge Fellow at the Institute and was published in “Cercles” an inter-disciplinary journal at the University of Rouen, France.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, George maintains a foot in community activism. He was one of the original members of the Greater Knoxville Civil Liberties Alliance, which has held town-hall meetings and rallies regarding the recent attacks on civil liberties most visibly represented by the USA PATRIOT Act.  George also continues to serve as a volunteer organizer for the staff union at the University of Tennessee (the United Campus Workers) which seeks a living wage and standardized work rules for the lowest paid, most vulnerable employees on campus.  Perhaps in appreciation of these efforts, George will receive a Circle of Change award from a local philanthropic organization.  Obviously, the upward trajectory of George’s personal and professional life has been influenced and enhanced by his continued relationship with the Institute.