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Appalachian Studies professor to deliver lecture at UVa-Wise on Feb. 10

William H. Turner, Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador at Kentucky’s Berea College, will deliver a lecture on the history of African-Americans in Appalachia at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Friday, Feb. 10.

The lecture is set for 1 p.m. in the C. Bascom Slemp Student Center's Dogwood Room.

Turner earned a Ph.D in sociology and anthropology from Notre Dame and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University.  For 10 years beginning in 1980, Turner was a research assistant to author Alex Haley.  Turner has also held academic posts at Howard University and Fisk University, and has served as both dean and interim president of Kentucky State University.

A pioneer in articulating the role of African-Americans in Appalachia, Turner has combined the personal with the professional by focusing his career as a sociologist on Appalachia with an emphasis on the African-American experience.  For nearly four decades, Turner has contributed to the understanding of Appalachia and its African-American population through teaching, publications, lectures, newspaper editorials and media consulting.

Among the first to combine interests in the fields of African-American and Appalachian Studies, Turner co-edited the path-breaking textbook “Blacks in Appalachia.”  His thematic essay on Black Appalachians was published in “The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” and he was an editorial advisor for the “Encyclopedia of Appalachia.”

Among the many honors Turner has received throughout his career, he was awarded the Cratis D. Williams / James S. Brown Service Award in 2009 by the Appalachian Studies Association, its highest honor.  He was also named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Citizen of the Year, by the Governor of Kentucky, for “advocating for the rights and expanded educational opportunities for people in Appalachian Kentucky.”

The event, which is available for cultural credit for UVa-Wise students, is being sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Faculty Lecture Committee and the Black History Committee and is part of the college’s celebration of Black History Month.