2022 James P. Elder Lecture to feature renowned historian William Ferris on April 14

Ferris, the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will present on his book and exhibit, “I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970.”

Elon University will host renowned historian William Ferris for the 2022 James P. Elder Lecture in Whitley Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14.

William Ferris, the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris will be speaking about his book, “I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970.” The collection of civil rights photographs and short essays published in February 2021 was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a moving and riveting look at the extraordinary people who came together to shape history. It stems from an exhibit of the same name curated by Ferris that opened in the Pavilion Populaire in Montpellier, France in October 2018.

Ferris has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films. He co-edited the “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” (1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His books include “Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues” (2009), which was translated into French as “Les Voix du Mississippi” (2013), “The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists,” and “The South in Color: A Visual Journal” (2016).

His publication, “Voices of Mississippi,” is a box set published by Dust to Digital in 2018 that contains three CDs of his recordings of blues, gospel and stories, a DVD of his documentary films, and a book. In 2019, “Voices of Mississippi” received two Grammy Awards for Best Liner Notes and for Best Historical Album.

His honors include the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and the W.C. Handy Blues Award. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine named him among the “Top Ten Professors in the United States.” He is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. Ferris received the B. L. C. Wailes Award, given to a Mississippian who has achieved national recognition in the field of history by the Mississippi Historical Society.  In 2017, Ferris received the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The James P. Elder Lecture is an endowed lecture series devoted to the exploration of critical scholarship and its impact on the public forum. When Elder served on the history faculty of Elon (1963-1973), he was an advisor to the Liberal Arts Forum, which he founded as an undergraduate. Thirty years after he left Elon for the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., a group of Forum alumni established an endowed lectureship in Elder’s honor. More than 150 former students and friends have contributed to the Elder Lectureship in tribute to Elder’s example of faculty-student engagement.