Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Professor James H. Williams, Jr. SoundCloud Interview

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Professor James H. Williams, Jr.

Edited and excerpted from oral history interviews conducted by Clarence G. Williams with James H. Williams, Jr., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 25 April and 6 August 1996.

Professor James H. Williams, Jr.

SB 1967 and SM 1968 (Mechanical Engineering) MIT, PhD 1970 (Mechanical Engineering) Cambridge University; from Apprentice Machinist to Senior Design Engineer, Newport News Shipyard, 1960-1970; joined the MIT faculty in 1970; Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1981- and continuing ; School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Excellence, 1991- and continuing; Charles F. Hopewell Faculty Fellow, 1993- and continuing ; member, Task Force on Educational Opportunity, 1971-1972; recipient numerous awards, including Everett Moore Baker Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, 1973; J. P. Den Hartog Distinguished Educator Award, 1981; Edison Man of the Year Award, 1993.

Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941–1999

By Dr. Clarence G. Williams

The MIT Press     DOI:


ISBN electronic:  9780262286305

Publication date: 2001


Transcripts of more than seventy-five oral history interviews in which the interviewees assess their MIT experience and reflect on the role of blacks at MIT and beyond.


This book grew out of the endeavors of MIT Black History, whose mission is to document the black presence at MIT. The main body of the text consists of transcripts of more than seventy-five oral history interviews, in which the interviewees assess their MIT experience and reflect on the role of blacks at MIT and beyond. Although most of the interviewees are present or former students, black faculty, administrators, and staff are also represented, as are nonblack faculty and administrators who have had an impact on blacks at MIT. The interviewees were selected with an eye to presenting the broadest range of issues and personalities, as well as a representative cross section by time period and category.


Each interviewee was asked to discuss family background; education; role models and mentors; experiences of racism and race-related issues; choice of field and career; goals; adjustment to the MIT environment; best and worst MIT experiences; experience with MIT support services; relationships with MIT students, faculty, and staff; advice to present or potential MIT students; and advice to the MIT administration. A recurrent theme is that MIT's rigorous teaching instills the confidence to deal with just about any hurdle in professional life, and that an MIT degree opens many doors and supplies instant credibility.


Each interview includes biographical notes and pictures. The book also includes a general introduction, a glossary, and appendixes describing the project's methodology.


MIT Black History

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