Dr. Ronald J. Stephens

Professor of African American Studies

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."

Marcus Garvey


Specializing in 20th century African American history and culture, I am the author of Idlewild: The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of a Unique African American Resort Town (University of Michigan Press, 2013), Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan (Arcadia Publishing, 2001), African Americans of Denver, 2008), and co-curator of Welcome to Idlewild, a traveling photographic exhibition (2003-present). I also worked on Ted Talbert’s award-winning documentary-film Idlewild: A Place in the Sun, and appeared in Tony Brown’s Journal Idlewild: The Real Thing and Historic African-American Towns (Home & Gardens Television).

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I have published essays in leading black studies journals such as The Journal of Black Studies and The Black Scholar, about topics involving African American culture, social movements, and community studies. A sampling of these peer-reviewed articles can be reviewed by clicking the icon below.

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I am currently working on three manuscripts: Robert Franklin Williams Speaks: A Documentary History, 1925-1996; Black Impresario: The Story of Larry Steele and his Smart Affairs; and a co-edited book with Adam Ewing, Global Garveyism: Diasporic Aspirations and Utopian Dreams.

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My overarching teaching philosophy is to challenge students to think, speak, and write critically. In the classroom, which I see as a laboratory, I rely on interactive lesson plans by employing the Socratic teaching method and an interactive delivery style. I expect students to come to class prepared to learn, to engage the readings and others in discussions, and to form their own opinions. For a listing of the courses I regularly teach, click the icon below.

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I have a great appreciation for information and knowledge about the discipline of Africana/ African American/Black Studies. I define my role as a scholar-activist. I received my Ph. D. from Temple University, and B.A. and M.A. degrees from Wayne State University. If you have any questions or seek additional information, please contact me through the link below.

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Click my links for information about some of the most visited African American museums and research centers, as well as African American Studies professional organizations and related peer-reviewed academic journals.

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