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Photo: Annette Hornischer

James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

Siemens Fellow - Class of Spring 2014

Dennis C. Dickerson is James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, where he specializes in the history of the US civil rights movement, African-American religious history, and the social history of medicine and labor. He has received grants and fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Louisville Institute. Dickerson taught at Williams College from 1976 to 1999, as well as at Rhodes College, Yale Divinity School, and the Payne Theological Seminary.


His first book, Out of the Crucible: Black Steel Workers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875-1980 (SUNY, 1986), chronicles the failed century-long struggle of black steel laborers to attain occupational parity with their Caucasian counterparts. His book Militant Mediator: Whitney M. Young, Jr. (Kentucky, 1998) analyzes the leadership of a key civil rights activist, and was awarded the 1999 Distinguished Book from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Dickerson’s book African-American Preachers and Politics: The Careys of Chicago (Mississippi, 2010) examines the intersection between religion and politics in the careers of two clergy/politicians during the course of the twentieth century.

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