James D. Anderson

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Nominated by:  Terah T. Venzant Chambers

In his 50 years at Illinois, James D. Anderson, now Gutgsell Professor and Dean, has revolutionized the field in three ways. First, his award-winning book, The Education of Blacks in the South, transformed the historiography of education for Black people after slavery. The prevailing narrative suggested Black education resulted from white northerners’ efforts. Anderson painstakingly documented that the Black community not only created and funded schools, but their unwavering dedication also altered the course of public education for Whites. Second, Anderson served as an expert witness in several key federal desegregation and affirmative action cases. Finally, he recruited and graduated hundreds of Black and LatinX Ph.Ds. Anderson is a “quiet giant” whose impact on education is immeasurable.

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