Tufts University Debuts Exhibit From the Gerald Gill Papers Collection

Tufts University in Massachusetts has unveiled a new exhibit featuring selections from the Gerald R. Gill papers collection that was donated to the university by Professor Gill’s daughter. Gerald Gill taught history at Tufts University for 27 years before his death 10 years ago at the age of 59. Dr. Hill began teaching at Tufts in 1980 after earning his Ph.D. at Howard University. He was named Professor of the Year in Massachusetts twice.

The collection includes correspondence, notes, course work, flyers for student groups, texts of his lectures, photographs, and other materials that document life at Tufts during Professor Gill’s tenure. Of great historical value are the transcripts of interviews with students about the civil rights era that he conducted over the course of a decade.

Daniel Santamaria, director of Digital Collections and Archives and university archivist, notes that the collection “vividly captures the accomplishments and core beliefs of a person who was part of the fabric of Tufts for almost three decades. It connects students to the past and to the people who came before them. That can be really important to their education and to their lives.”

Professor Gill was the author of “Another Light on the Hill,” which documented the history of African Americans at Tufts. A digital exhibit featuring Professor Gills work has been established and will be added to and updated in the future.

Jeanne Marie Penvenne, a professor of history at Tufts notes that Dr. Gill understood ““the power of the remembered past to shape the imagined future. He never let Tufts forget how important black Tuftonians were—and that the larger community around Tufts was incredibly important, too.”

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  1. It is great to know that Professor Gill’s papers are now on display. I knew Professor for most of the time that he spent at Tufts. We spent a year together at Harvard University as Du Bois Fellows (I think). I remembered with fondness most Prof. Gill’s conscientiousness, his commitment to his people and his desire to be the best teacher he could possibly be. He was also a kind brother. Never raised his voice, never objected to a contrary position in a vehement way and was always solicitous about the views of others. I remember him fondly. I am pleased that others will be able to glimpse the views and ideas of a great brother. Congratulations Tufts.

    • Professor Gerald Gill and I were classmates at Lafayette College, being two of the eight black students in our class of over five hundred. It’s wonderful to know that Gerald Gill continued his predilection for chronicling the events and history of African American students. He was the unofficial historian for the Association of Black Collegians at Lafayette during a very turbulent time. I am glad to know that his voice will continue to be heard.

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