Academic journal article The Journal of Negro History

William Garfield Pickens. (in Memoriam: A Personal Tribute)

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro History

William Garfield Pickens. (in Memoriam: A Personal Tribute)

Article excerpt

1929-1998

Dr. William Garfield "Bill" Pickens was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 29, 1929. Shortly after graduating from Morehouse College, magna cum laude, in 1948, he relocated to Hartford, Connecticut.

In addition to a bachelors degree in English from Morehouse, Pickens also earned a masters in English from Atlanta University and a doctorate in English from the University of Connecticut in 1969.

Dr. Pickens began his academic career as a high school teacher in Durham, North Carolina in 1950. After combat service in the United States Army in Korea, he returned to high school teaching in Hartford, Connecticut in 1954. In 1968, he was appointed chairman of the English Department at Weaver High School there, becoming the first African American in the state to hold such a position. In 1970, he joined the faculty of Morehouse College as Professor and Chair of the Department of English.

At Morehouse, where he remained for almost thirty years, Pickens directed the NEH "Mirror" Program and the Mellon Foundation sponsored "Lamp" program (which were the foremost interdisciplinary learning projects on the campus at the time). He was also a mentor in the Morehouse Scholars program (which prepared talented Morehouse juniors and seniors for careers in college teaching), a member of the Benjamin E. Mays Lecture Committee, and chair of the Committee on Alumni and Honorary Members for the Delta of Georgia chapter, Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Pickens was a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and its Atlanta Branch (ASALH). …

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