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Kidada Williams receives Career Development Chair Award
Posted Tue, 4/29/2014
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Associate Professor Kidada Williams has received a 2014 Career Development Chair. Career Development Chairs are awarded to as many as seven recently tenured faculty as part of the university’s program to support the teaching and research endeavors of faculty members in the developmental stages of their scholarly careers. Since 1982, 217 university faculty members have held Career Development Chairs. The Career Development Chairs were established by generous grants to the Wayne State Fund and provide recipients financial support, encouragement and recognition at a critical time in their careers.

Dr. Williams received her award at the WSU Academic Recognition Ceremony on April 24, 2014. According to the program,

Professor Kidada Williams established herself as a leading scholar in the field of African American history with her first book, They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I. In this work, for which Williams received a Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award in 2012, she applied social movement, trauma and discursive theory to testimonies that victims and witnesses of racial violence provided to federal officials. She did so to discover what those testimonies say about the ways in which racial violence impacted African Americans in the decades after emancipation. As Williams argued in beautifully written prose, such violence did much more than tear apart lives. In trying to achieve some justice through their testimonies, African Americans created a vernacular history of racial violence, which molded black identity and informed their organized efforts against disenfranchisement, segregation and such forms of racial violence as lynching. Williams’ focus on the voices of black people themselves enabled her to break new ground in the field. So did her successful challenge to the notion that while occurrences of violence can be documented, the impact on survivors cannot. Williams will further cement her reputation as a path-breaking researcher with her second book, When Violence Came Home: Black Families and Racial Violence during Reconstruction. This monograph will examine the consequences of racial violence for black families during the years from 1865 to 1880. By no means did racial violence abate during these years, and attacks on husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and children inside and outside of private homes threatened the ability of black families to participate fully in American life. Williams will use her Career Development Chair to delve into ex-slave narratives from the Works Progress Administration, black print and visual culture, and state and federal population and agricultural censuses to learn more about the specific nature of the threat to family organization, place of residence, possession of property, and physical and emotional well-being.

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