Author of ‘The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns’ to speak at Marshall University

Marshall University will host a presentation by sociologist Dr. William H. Turner, in recognition of Black History Month and in conjunction with the Great Voices Speaker’s Series and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Quality Initiative. The presentation will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, in the Drinko Library Atrium, located on the third floor.

Turner, who is based near Houston, Texas, will speak on his book, “The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns.” Among other accolades, his book was named the winner of the 2023 Kentucky Historical Society Governor’s Award and the Weatherford Award for Non-Fiction.

“Bill Turner’s intellectual brilliance is clear,” said Dr. Cicero Fain, assistant provost of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion fellow at Marshall. “In the last 50 years, this native son of Lynch, Kentucky, has done more to research, chronicle, and elevate the lives, stories, and diverse experiences of Black Appalachians than anyone. Yet, it is his generosity of spirit that makes him truly special.”

Turner formerly served as dean of Arts and Sciences and interim president of Kentucky State University; vice president for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kentucky; distinguished professor of Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador at Berea College; and research scientist leader at the Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. He received a lifetime of service award from the Appalachian Studies Association in 2009, which joined other career highlights that include induction into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

His presentation at Marshall will be free and open to all. Refreshments will be provided. The event is sponsored by the Center for Economic & Community Development in Black Appalachia and Isolated Communities, the Carter G. Woodson Lyceum, the John Deaver Drinko Academy, and Academic Affairs.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to attend. Turner will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase during the event.


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