Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Blacks at MIT History Project is a continuous research effort and collaborative endeavor sponsored by the MIT Office of the Provost. The project is archiving the historical achievements and influence that students, staff, faculty, and management have accomplished for MIT in their ongoing careers.
The Blacks at MIT History Project mission is to research, identify, and produce scholarly curatorial content on the black experience at MIT since opening its doors in 1865. This Project was founded and is directed by Dr. Clarence G. Williams, Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies & Planning Emeritus and Former Special Assistant to the President, MIT. He is an innovator in higher education for four decades and a recipient of a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Counseling Psychology.
Dr. Williams joined the administration at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972 as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and was named Special Assistant to the President and Chancellor for Minority Affairs in 1974. From 1980-1982, he served as Acting Director of the Office of Minority Education, and from 1984-1997, he assumed additional responsibilities as Assistant Equal Opportunity Officer, along with a broader scope of the Special Assistant position, to serve the MIT community as an ombudsperson. From 1992 until his status changed to emeritus in 2004, he taught race relations and diversity courses in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He is serving, since 1995, as the Founder and Director of the Blacks at MIT History Project.
The project’s continuing objective is to place the black experience at MIT in its full and appropriate context, by researching and disseminating a varied set of materials. It is also exposing a larger community of interests — both inside and outside MIT — to this rich and historically significant legacy. We are currently conducting oral history video interviews with black tenured faculty at MIT. The videos explore each faculty member’s passion for what he or she does, involving their professional fields, their research and teaching, and their personal journey. How did they become who they are? What was the path that led them to MIT? The videos will be part of a web-based history, with multimedia access by the public including particular outreach to young people. Additionally, the project is producing audio and image narratives reflecting on the continuing legacy of the this unique and important population within the MIT community experience.
The current Blacks at MIT History Project website is in the final stages of a major update, yet it can still be accessed. This blog highlights ongoing efforts regarding the project's initiatives.