A giant in his field, a giant in Carolina history

Joseph Jordan, director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, calls Colin Palmer “a giant in African-American and diaspora studies.”

He remains a giant in Carolina history, too. Palmer  became the first African-American chair of a major department at UNC-Chapel Hill when he was appointed to lead the history department in 1986, a post he held until 1991. Before that, he chaired the curriculum in African and Afro-American studies from 1980 to 1988, laying the foundation for it to become a department. Under his leadership, the curriculum grew in reputation both on and off campus and became the largest such program in terms of enrollment in the country.

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Palmer was honored at the 14th annual African-American History Month Lecture with the Award for Scholarly Distinction in February of 2018. He is also the most recent honoree of the University’s Bridge Builders scholarships. The Bridge Builders scholarships receive donations through the History Makers Funds.