William H. Chafe has been Inducted into the Prestigious Marquis Who's Who Biographical Registry

CHAPEL HILL, NC, April 26, 2023 - William H. Chafe has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Dr. Chafe grew up in a multi-racial working-class neighborhood in Cambridge. There, he witnessed first-hand the reality of racial discrimination and social injustice. Active in the American Baptist church in his growing up years, his youth minister each Sunday night talked about Jesus and the Social Gospel, asking what Jesus would do if faced with the injustices of race and class.

Carrying these concerns with him as he entered Harvard College in 1958, Chafe took courses on social issues and history, and then wrote his senior thesis on W.E.B. DuBois, graduating magna cum laude.

After moving to New York, Chafe taught high school for two years, then entered Columbia University where he continued his research on issues of social injustice, including using oral histories to write about the autoworkers union in Flint, Michigan in the late 1930s and studying the role of Blacks in the Populist movement.

While there, he became one of the pioneers in the new generation of women's historians. His dissertation, "The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic and Political Roles, 1920-1970," was published in 1972, the year after he graduated from Columbia. Subsequently, Dr. Chafe published three more books on women's history, and became the first person to teach courses on women's history at Vassar College.

In 1971, just five months after earning his Ph.D., Dr. Chafe was recruited by Duke University's history department, where with Lawrence Goodwyn, another recent Ph.D., he started the Duke Oral History Program, dedicated to recruiting Black and white graduate students to use oral histories with civil rights activists to understand how and why the civil rights revolution occurred. Over 40 years, they graduated 38 Ph.D.'s, half Black, and half white. Twenty-eight of these Ph.D's published their dissertation as books, and 16 won national book awards.

Dr. Chafe pursued his own work on the civil rights movement, publishing Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black Struggle for Freedom in 1981 which won the first Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 1981. Dr. Chafe has continued to write books on issues of race and gender, most recently "Lifting the Chains: The Black Freedom Struggle in America Since Reconstruction" -- his 14th book -- which uses scores of oral histories to provide a new understanding of the civil rights struggle, as well as the reasons that more economic justice for Black people has not been achieved.

Dr. Chafe became chair of the history department in 1990, then ascended to the role of Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Vice-Provost from 1995-2004. Under his leadership, and in partnership with Duke's President Nan Keohane, the non-white student body at Duke increased from 15 per cent to 35 per cent, and the number of Black faculty grew by 150 percent.

Dr. Chafe has been active in various historical societies, and became president of the Organization of American Historians in 1999. He also was named the Bicentennial Professor of American Studies in Helsinki in 1979, and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Within the coming years, Dr. Chafe intends to continue teaching and writing about social movements in America.

About Marquis Who's Who®:
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Marquis celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, and Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.

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