Lorraine A. Williams, August 6, 1923 - May 21, 1996

By Neverdon-Morton, Cynthia | Negro History Bulletin, January-March 1997 | Go to article overview

Lorraine A. Williams, August 6, 1923 - May 21, 1996


Neverdon-Morton, Cynthia, Negro History Bulletin


Dr. Lorraine A. Williams, beloved wife, educator, consultant, lecturer, traveler, philanthropist, and humanitarian, died Tuesday, May 21, 1996 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Daughter of Allen and Alice Winston Anderson, she was born in Washington, D.C., August 6, 1923.

A product of the District of Columbia Public School System, she graduated from the Dunbar Senior High School at age sixteen in 1940, and successfully pursued the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts that were conferred by Howard University in 1944 and 1945, respectively.

Sgt. Charles E. Williams, her husband of 51 years, and Dr. Williams were married June 10, 1945. Her tenure as a teacher at Howard spanned 28 years, beginning as a social science survey course instructor and ending as a full professor and chairman of the Department of History. In 1955, she earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in American Intellectual History at The American University.

When the College of Liberal Arts inaugurated the Honors Program in September 1957, Dr. Williams was elected as a member of its social science faculty. In addition to teaching intellectually gifted students in this program, Dr. Williams also taught in an experimental program for disadvantaged students in the early 1960s.

Fortified by her teaching experience, she became Chairman of the Department of Social Sciences at Howard University in 1962 and served in this position until 1969. While Chairman of the Department of Social Sciences, she was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts serving in that position from 1967 to 1968. She became Chairman of the Department of History in 1970, and with an EPDA grant, served concurrently as Director of the Afro-American Institute for Secondary School Teachers.

In 1974, Dr. Williams was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs, the first African-American woman to hold a position of this stature in a major university. She served in this position until her retirement in 1983.

While Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Williams was Editor of The Journal of Negro History from 1974 to 1976. She was appointed by President Carter to serve as a member of the United States Circuit Judge Nominating Panel for the District of Columbia in 1978, and Lincoln University (PA) conferred the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws in 1980. She also served on the Board of Trustees at Johnson C. Smith University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Her membership in Learned and Professional Societies included: The American Judicature Society, The Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, The Washington, D.C. Branch of the American Association of University Women-Executive Board, and member of the National Committee, Standards in Higher Education at the National Convention of the American Association of University Women held in Chicago, Illinois; The D.C. Branch, Council of Administrative Women in Education (National Education Association-Historian); Honorary Patroness, Sigma Alpha Iota Fraternity; Honorary Member, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society; and National Graduate Awards Committee Member, Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society.

She was an editor and co-author of: A Teaching Aid for College Courses in the Social Sciences (Monograph); A Curriculum in Black History for Secondary Schools; A Curriculum in Afro-American Literature for Secondary Schools; The Second Series of Historical Publications; The Tribute to the Memory of William Leo Hansberry (Monograph); Proceedings of the Conference, Afro-Americans and Africans: Historical and Political Linkages; Africa and the Afro-American Experience; Histoire De La Diaspora Noire-Temoignages - (Nouveau Horizons) (Translation of Africa and the Afro-American Experience.

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