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The Tuttle Lecture

The Bill Tuttle Distinguished Lecture in American Studies

Professor Emeritus Bill Tuttle

October 5th, 2017
University of Kansas

Bill Tuttle image

As a distinguished teacher, mentor, and scholar, Professor Emeritus Bill Tuttle guided generations of KU students. Bill taught in American studies, history, and African and African-American studies, offering the first courses at KU in African American history and post-World War II American history. His teaching awards include the W. T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, the H.O.P.E. Teaching Award from the Class of 2001, and the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award. He taught KU’s first African American History course, and his class on Recent America was legendary for attracting the very best seniors on campus. In 2007, he taught at Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, holding the John Adams Distinguished Fulbright Chair. He has also lectured in Cuba and Japan.

Bill Tuttle has written seminal work in African American history, labor history, the history of childhood, and recent American history; his writings have influenced scholars and students around the world. As a pioneer in history from the bottom up, he produced the classic books Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919, “Daddy’s Gone to War”: The Second World War in the Lives of America’s Children, and the co-edited Plain Folk: The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans. Through seven editions in the co-authored A People and a Nation, Bill reached millions of students. His scholarly articles have been frequently reprinted and widely cited. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of American Historians, and he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEH, the American Council of Learned Societies, and from Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Stanford Universities. In 2004 KU honored him with the Balfour S. Jeffrey/Higuchi Award, for Research Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

In Lawrence, Bill Tuttle co-chaired the Second Century Fund to restore historic St. Luke AME Church.. He is a longtime member of both the NAACP and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. For his community service, Bill was recognized with the Steeples Service to Kansans Award in 2006.

The Department of American Studies and friends and family of Bill Tuttle established the annual Tuttle Lecture in 2008 to honor Bill for his 40 years of academic excellence in research and teaching, as well as his services to the university, the Lawrence community, and the nation. The Tuttle Lecture focuses on Bill’s primary teaching, research and civic concerns: African American history and culture and recent American society and politics.

2018 Tuttle Lecture: Professor Roderick Ferguson
University of Illinois at Chicago
Thursday, October 25th, 2018 4:00 PM
Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

Previous Lectures

Professor Kevin Young
October 13th, 2016
Emory University

Event flyer (pdf)


This year's Tuttle Lecturer is Kevin Young, who is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English and the Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.  While an undergraduate at Harvard Univerity, Kevin studied with the Nobel-Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney, and while there he became a member of the Dark Room Collective, a community of African American writers.  Later, as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he studied with Denise Levertov.  Kevin, who was awarded the Master of Fine Arts from Brown University, has been deeply influenced by the poets Langston Hughes, John Berryman, and Emily Dickinson and by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

More information (PDF)

Professor Tiya Miles
October 22, 2015
University of Michigan 

Native American interrelated and comparative histories (especially 19th century); Black, Native, and U.S. women's histories; and African American and Native American women's literature. Her most recent book, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, was published by the the University of North Carolina Press in 2010. She also wrote Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, published by the University of California Press in 2005, and a co-edited book with Sharon P. Holland, Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country, published by Duke University Press in 2006.

More info »

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October 2, 2012, delivered by Quintard Taylor, Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington.


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October 26, 2011, delivered by Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University.


The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

October 7, 2010, delivered by Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.


From Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement: the Continuity of Struggle

March 22, 2009, delivered by William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History at Duke University.


Tuttlefest Inaugural Lecture

March 8-10, 2008, delivered by Leon Litwick, Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of History Emeritus at UC Berkeley.


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