Our current work and accomplishments were made possible by a number senior anthropologists who are no longer with us. The Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA) acknowledges the contribution of these anthropologists as well as their legacy. Their work continues to influence us in many ways and we thank them for creating a path for us to follow.

    Pioneers
  • William Allison Davis (1902-1983)

    An educator, anthropologist, writer, researcher, and scholar, William Boyd Allison Davis was considered one of the most promising black scholars of his generation. He became the first African-American to hold a full faculty position at a major white university when he joined the staff of the University of Chicago in 1942, where he would spend the balance of his academic life. Among his students during his tenure at the University of Chicago were anthropologist St. Clair Drake and sociologist Nathan Hare. Davis, who has been honored with a commemorative postage stamp by the United States Postal Service, is best remembered for his pioneering anthropology research on southern race and class during the 1930s, his research on intelligence quotient in the 1940s and 50’s, and his support of “compensatory education” that contributed to the intellectual genesis of the federal program Head Start.
     
    • 1942 Social Anthropology Ph.D.; University of Chicago
    • 1925 BA English; Harvard University
    • Anthropology; London School of Economics
    • 1924 BA summa cum laude English; William College
    • Dissertation: The Relation between Color Caste and Economic Stratification in Two Black Plantation Counties.
    • Areas of research interest: acculturation, race and social class, child development, personality and intelligence
    • Awarded Julian Rosenwald Fellowships in Anthropology 1932, 1939, 1940.
    • Professor of Anthropology, Head of the Division of Social Studies, Dillard University 1935-1940.
    • Professor in the Department of Education, University of Chicago 1942 (first Black professor); Full Professor in 1948; John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Education, 1970.
    • First educator to become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    • Selected Publications: Children of Bondage: The Personality Development of Negro Youth in the Urban South (1940, co-authored with John Dollard), Deep South: A Social Anthropological Study of Caste and Class (1941, co-authored with Burleigh and Mary Gardner), Intelligence and Cultural Differences: A Study of Cultural Learning and Problem-solving (1951, co-authored with Kenneth Eells, Robert Havighurst, Virgil Herrick, and Ralph Tyler)
  • Caroline Bond Day (1889-1948)

     
    • 1930 MA Anthropology; Radcliffe College
    • 1912 BA English; Atlanta University
    • Thesis: Negro-White Families in the United States
    • First taught a course in anthropology at Atlanta University in 1928.
    • Publication: A Study of Some Negro-White Families in the United States (1932)
    • Research interests: biology and culture, race and social class, admixture and acculturation
  • St. Clair Drake (1911-1990)

     
    • 1954 Ph.D. Social Anthropology; University of Chicago
    • 1931 BS Biology; Hampton Institute
    • Dissertation: Values, Social Structure, and Race Relations in the British Isles.
    • Research interests: Africa, the African diaspora, race and power, social change, social and intellectual history
    • Selected Publications: Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945, coauthored with Horace Cayton), Race Relations in a Time of Rapid Social Change (1966), Redemption of Africa and Black Religion (1970), Black Folk Here and There: An Essay in History and Anthropology, Vols. 1 & 2 (1987, 1990).
  • Katherine Dunham (1910-2006)

     
    • Attended Joliet Jr. College, Joliet IL
    • 1926-1936 Ph.B (bachelor of philosophy); University of Chicago
    • Dance anthropology, theater, Africa, Caribbean, and intercultural communication
    • Founder and director of the Institute for Intercultural Communication
    • Selected Publications: Island Possessed (1969), A Touch of Innocence (1959), Dances of Haiti (1947), Journey to Accompong (1946)
  • Arthur Huff Fauset (1899-1983)

     
     
    • 1942 Ph.D.; University of Pennsylvania
    • 1924 MA English; University of Pennsylvania
    • 1921 BA English; University of Pennsylvania
    • Dissertation: Black Gods of the Metropolis
    • Research interests: Black folklore, religion, civil rights
    • Teacher, principal, union organizer in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania public schools
    • Editor of The People’s Voice
    • Selected Publication: Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North (1944)
  • Laurence Foster (1903-1969)

     
    • 1931 Ph.D. Anthropology; University of Pennsylvania
    • 1929 STB; Theological Seminary, Lincoln University
    • 1926 BA Education; Lincoln University
    • Dissertation: Negro-Indian Relations in the Southeast
    • Areas of Research: Race relations, Blacks, American Indians
    • Selected Publications: The Functions of a Graduate School in a Democratic Society (1936)
  • Manet Fowler (1916-2004)

     
     
    • 1952 Ph.D. Anthropology; Cornell University
    • 1937 BA Journalism; New York University
    • The first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from a US university; first African American woman to establish a professional practice in public relations counseling in the 1940s in New York City.
    • Dissertation: The Case of Chef A: An Inquiry into and Analysis of a Human Relations Situation
    • Areas of Work: Cultural and applied anthropology, journalism, and fiction writing.
    • Selected Publications: “Hall of liberty.” Opportunity 16(4):112-115, 121 (1938); “Southern circumstance.” Opportunity 16(10):310-312; one of several collaborating authors for Robin M. Williams, Jr.’s Strangers Next Door: Ethnic Relations in American Communities (1964).
  • Vera Mae Green (1928-1982)

     
    • 1969 Ph.D. Anthropology; University of Arizona
    • 1955 MA Anthropology; Columbia University
    • 1952 BA Sociology; Roosevelt University
    • 1977-1979 – First president of the Association of Black Anthropologists, Coordinated first ABA Directory on Black Anthropologists.
    • 1980 Service Award for Outstanding Contribution to Anthropology (ABA).
    • Dissertation: Aspects of Interethnic Integration in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
    • Areas of Research: Cultural and applied anthropology, interethnic relations, U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, India, and Israel, diversity in Black communities
    • Selected publications: Migrants in Aruba: Interethnic Integration (1974); “The confrontation of diversity within the Black community.” Human Organization 29(4): 267-272 (1970); “The Black extended family in the United States: Some research suggestions.” In D.B. Shimkin et al., eds., The Extended Family in Black Societies (1978); International Human Rights: Contemporary Perspectives (co-ed. with Jack Nelson, 1980)
  • John Langston Gwaltney (1928–1998)

     
    • 1967 Ph.D. Anthropology; Columbia University
    • 1957 MA; New School for Social Research
    • 1952 BA; Upsala College
    • 1989 Distinguished Achievement Award recipient (ABA)
    • Areas of Research: Oaxaca, Mexico, and Urban US
    • Selected Publications: Drylongso: A Self-Portrait of Black America (1980), The Dissenters: Voices From Contemporary America (1986), Thrice Shy: Cultural Accommodation to Blindness and Other Disasters in a Mexican Community (1970)
  • Zora Neale Hurston (1901-1960)

     
    • 1928 BA Anthropology; Barnard College
    • 1919-1923 Howard University
    • 1920 AA; Howard Academy
    • A recipient of anthropological awards, prizes, and honors at the University of Florida and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
    • Areas of Research: Folklore, Caribbean and African American culture
    • Selected Publications: Mules and Men (1935), Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938), Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
  • Delmos Jones (1936–1999)

     
    • 1967 Ph.D. Anthropology; Cornell
    • 1962 MA; University of Arizona
    • 1959 BA; Anthropology; San Francisco State College
    • 1997 CUNY Graduate Center Professor Emeritus
    • 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (SANA)
    • Areas of Research: Northern Thailand, Australia, and Urban US
    • Selected Publications: 1970 “Towards a Native Anthropology.” Human Organization 29:251-259; “The community and organizations in the community.” In Leith Mullings, ed., Urban Anthropology in the United States (1987); “The culture of achievement among the poor: the case of mothers and children in a Head Start Program.” Critique of Anthropology 13(3):247-266; “Epilogue.” In Faye V Harrison, ed., Decolonizing Anthropology. Second edition (1997).
  • Louis Eugene King (1889-1981)

     
    • 1966 Ph.D. Anthropology; Columbia University
    • 1926-1931 graduate studies and fieldwork
    • 1924 BS General Science; Howard University
    • Dissertation: Negro Life in a Rural Community
  • Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane (1924-1969)

     
    • 1960 Ph.D. Sociology; Northwestern University
    • 1956 MA; Northwestern University
    • 1953 BA; Oberlin College
    • Thesis: Ethnocentrism and the Social Definition of Race as In-Group Determinants
    • Dissertation: Role Conflict, Reference Group, and Race
    • Selected Publication: The Struggle of Mozambique (1969)
    • Was on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University before working for the UN and then returning to Southern Africa to dedicate himself to FRELIMO, of which he was a founder and leader.
  • Maxine Letcher Nimtz (1946-1981)

     
     
    • 1974 Ph.D. Anthropology; Indiana University
    • MA African Studies; Howard University
    • 1964 BA Sociology/Anthropology; Boston University
    • issertation: Economic Networks Among Fishermen in Bagamoyo, Tanzania
    • Research interest: Black women and homicide (collaborated with Harold M. Rose in research on Black urban crime; his co-authored book, Race, Place, & Risk: Black Homicide in Urban America is dedicated to her.)
  • Pearl Primus (1919–1994)

     
    • 1978 Ph.D. Anthropology; New York University
    • 1959 MA Education; New York University
    • 1940 BA Biology; Hunter College
    • Areas of Work: Modern African American dance
    • Selected Publications: Dance among Black people in America (City College papers) (1980), A Pilot Study Integrating Visual Form and Anthropological Content for Teaching Children Ages 6 to 11 About Cultures and Peoples of the World (1968)
  • Hugh Smythe (1913-1977)

     
     
    • 1946 Ph.D. Anthropology; Northwestern University
    • 1937 MA Sociology; Atlanta University
    • 1936 BA Sociology; Virginia State College
    • Ambassador to Syria in 1965
    • Dissertation: Patterns of Kinship Structure in West Africa
    • Selected Publications: “The concept of ‘Jim Crow.’” Social Forces 27(1):45-48 (1949); “Race and nationality from a sociological point of view.” Midwest Journal 2(1):41-45 (1949); “Changing patterns in Negro leadership.” Social Forces 29(2):191-197 (1950); “The Eta: a marginal Japanese caste.” American Journal of Sociology 58(2): 194-196 (1952); “Social stratification in Nigeria.” Social Forces 37(2):168-171 (1958); “Social change in Africa.” American Journal of Economics & Sociology 19(2):193-206 (1960); “Urbanization in Nigeria.” Anthropological Quarterly 33(3):143-148 (1960); The New Nigerian Elite (co-authored with Mabel M. Smythe, 1960).
  • Charles Preston Warren (1921-1987)

     
     
    • 1961 MA Cultural Anthropology; University of Chicago
    • 1951 MS Physical Anthropology; Indiana University
    • 1947 BS Zoology; Northwestern University
    • ABA’s Midwest Representative 1979-1988.
    • Distinguished Service Award (ABA)
    • Areas of Research: Physical and social anthropology, forensic anthropology, identification of human remains, Philippine and South-East Asian ethnography, African and Latin American urban studies.
  • Mark Hanna Watkins (1903-1976)

     
    • 1933 Ph.D. Anthropology; University of Chicago
    • 1930 MA Anthropology; University of Chicago
    • 1926 BA Education; Prairie View State College
    • Dissertation: A Grammar of Chichawa, A Bantu Language of Central Africa
    • Areas of Research: Linguistics, race relations, Africans, and African Americans
    • Selected Publications: “A place for anthropology in the Negro college.” Quarterly Review of Higher Education among Negroes 5:60-61 (1937); “The racial situation in Denver.” Crisis 52:139-140, “Race, caste, and class in Haiti.” Midwest Journal 1:6-15; “Some problems of morphemic boundaries (word division) in the writing Kiswahili.” In John G. Bordie, ed., National Conference on Teaching of African and Area Studies (1960); “Yoruba phonemics.” In M. Estellie Smith, ed., Studies in Linguistics in Honor of George L. Trager (1972)
  • William Shedrick Willis, Jr. (1921-1983)

     
     
    • 1955 Ph.D. Anthropology; Columbia University
    • 1942 cum laude BA History; Howard University
    • Dissertation; Colonial Conflict and the Cherokee Indians, 1710-1760
    • Areas of Research: Ethnohistory, history of anthropology, Native Americans, blacks in the Americas, relations among Native Americans, Blacks, and Whites.
    • Selected publications: “Divide and rule: Red, white, & black in the southeast.” Journal of Negro History 48(3): 157-176 (1963, reprinted in four books); “Skeletons in the anthropological closet.” In Dell Hymes, ed., Reinventing Anthropology (1972); “Franz Boas and the study of Black folklore.” In John W. Bennett, ed., The New Ethnicity: Perspectives from Ethnology (1975)