Rosevelt Noble, senior lecturer in sociology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, first came to the university as an undergraduate in 1994. After earning a bachelor’s degree, a Ph.D., and joining the faculty, in 2007 he attended a ceremony honoring Walter Murray Jr., the first African American to serve as a member of the Vanderbilt board and the founder of the Black Alumni Association. Dr. Noble had never heard of Murray and realized he knew very little about the history of African Americans at the university. He set out to document that history, which was not familiar to him and many others in the campus community.
Noble began by conducting research on Murray and his family. That effort has evolved into his Lost in the Ivy project that seeks to document the history of African Americans at Vanderbilt. To date, Dr. Noble has conducted more than 150 oral history interviews with former students and plans to continue his work well into the future. Some Dr. Noble’s interviews are available on YouTube.
Dr. Noble is the author of Black Rage in the American Prison System (LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2006).