Edgar Allan Toppin, Ph.D

By Franklin, V. P. | The Journal of African American History, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Edgar Allan Toppin, Ph.D


Franklin, V. P., The Journal of African American History


On 8 December 2004, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History lost one of its foremost leaders, Dr. Edgar Allen Toppin, Emeritus Professor of History at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Born in Harlem, New York City, on 22 January 1928, he attended public schools and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Howard University, and received his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1955. Dr. Toppin taught at a number of universities, including Alabama State, the University of Akron, Western Reserve, San Francisco State, Virginia Commonwealth, the University of Cincinnati, and the College of William and Mary. At Virginia State University where he served for over 39 years, in addition to his position as Professor of History, Dr. Toppin served as Dean of the Graduate School and Provost.

A distinguished scholar, Dr. Toppin was the author of ten books and numerous scholarly and popular articles. In 1969, Dr. Toppin hosted the ten-part television series, produced by WCBS and Columbia University, entitled The Black Heritage: A History of Afro-Americans. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Dr. Toppin served on the board of directors for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for the National Park Service, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center in Richmond. …

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