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Thu, 12.22.1898

Dr. Chancellor Williams, Historian born

Dr. Chancellor Williams

Dr. Chancellor Williams was born on this date in 1898. He was a Black historian and author.

Chancellor Williams was born in Bennettsville, S.C. His father had been a former slave, and his mother had been a cook, a nurse, and an evangelist. Williams’ curiosity, about racial equality and cultural struggles, began as early as the fifth grade.

He received his undergraduate degree in education and master of arts degree in history from Howard University. He studied abroad serving as a visiting research scholar at the University of Oxford in England and at the University of London.

Williams began field research in African History in Ghana (University College) in 1956.  His main focus was on African achievements and self-ruling civilizations before colonization.  His last study in 1964 covered 26 countries and more than 100 language groups. His best-known work is "The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 BC to 2000 A.D." For this effort, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters gave Dr. Williams honors.

A little-known fact about Williams is that in addition to being a historian and a professor, he was president of a baking company, editor of a newsletter, The New Challenge, an economist, a high school teacher and principal, and a novelist.

Dr. Williams remained a staunch believer that African historians should do independent research and investigations so that the history of African people will be told and understood from the Black perspective.

Dr. Chancellor Williams died in 1992.

Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West

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