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Dr. Ron Bailey

Department Head, Professor of African American Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ronald W. Bailey, Ph.D., is head of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a 1965 graduate of Evans County History School in Claxton, GA, and a 1969 Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a B.A. in liberal arts (cross-cultural studies) from Michigan State University’s Justin Morrill College.

A man with white hair and a beard and glasses wearing a tan blazer and collared button up shirt

His undergraduate major included fluency in Russian and a study/travel program and certificate from Moscow State University. He holds an M.A. in political science from Stanford and a Ph.D. in black studies from Stanford, the first such degree awarded in the United States in 1980. He has taught at Fisk University, Cornell, Northwestern, the University of Mississippi, and Northeastern University, where he chaired the department of African-American studies for eight years. He also served as vice president for academic affairs at South Carolina State University and Knoxville College and as a senior scientist with the Education Development Center, Inc. He was distinguished senior lecturer in Africana studies and history at Savannah State University and served as interim chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs in 2010-2011. He is writing a book on the slave(ry) trade’s role in the U.S. and global history, especially the trade in slaves and cotton and the industrial revolution. He is also the co-PI on a Mellon- Foundation project to expand the use of digital tools in studying the Black experience.

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