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Dr. Lisa Lindsay
Chair, Department of History

Greetings from the Chair – Winter 2021

Dear Friends, Alumni, and Fellow Historians,

Greetings from the UNC History Department! I’m writing at the end of the semester in which UNC returned to semi-normal operations and in-person instruction. We did it! Though many challenges and heartaches remain, I’m delighted to report that students were taught and inspired, research resumed, and historians cautiously carried on with our mission of public education. Hearty congratulations and thanks to all who participated in this effort.

In her memoir Song in a Weary Throat, Pauli Murray wrote, “What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.” With those words, the brilliant Murray—the subject of one of this newsletter’s articles and the hoped-for namesake of our campus building—surely sold herself short. But I’m inspired by the sentiment, particularly after nearly two years of COVID hardships. This late fall issue of The Department Historian offers glimpses of both persistent and exceptional endeavors, involving our graduate program, faculty research and achievements, public outreach, and alumni engagement. For more news of the History Department, please do see our website,, which has been ably maintained by graduate students Emma Rothberg and Craig Gill.

For producing this newsletter while engaging in his own research and teaching, I deeply appreciate our faculty editor, Dr. Eren Tasar. He was ably assisted by graduate student writers Mira Markham and Nicole Harry, whom I thank as well for this important work of public communication.

As we continue to maintain our mission through this tumultuous era, we depend more than ever on the generous backing of our friends and alumni—like the Sallie Markham Mitchie Trust and the impressive Alex Hodges, both featured in this edition of the newsletter. Private contributions enable us to fund research opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty; participate in and coordinate national and international conferences; and maintain our commitment to engaging the general public. Thank you for your continued interest and support.

I hope you will consider making a gift today and help us continue our tradition of excellence that is History at UNC. And please stay in touch—we’d love to hear from you.