The University of Oklahoma has acquired the archives of George Henderson, a civil rights activist and professor emeritus at the university. The papers span over 40 years of Henderson’s career in higher education. The donation represents the largest gift by an African-American scholar, educator, and activist to the university’s archives.
In announcing the donation, Dr. Henderson said that “throughout my professional life, I have been an advocate of social justice, specifically in communities that have a great number of marginalized people. It is my hope that the fragments of my life that will be in the University’s Western History Collections will be of some use to scholars, students, and the general public – the major sources of my community activism, research, writing, and teaching. The materials in the collection provide insight into my personal journey from poverty to affluence; from racial segregation to racial integration; and from hate to love in black-white relations.”
After his family fled Alabama following a death threat against his father, Henderson moved to East Chicago, Indiana. Despite struggling academically during elementary school, Henderson secured both an academic and athletic scholarship to Michigan State. He went on to earn a doctorate in educational sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Dr. Henderson joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in 1967. He was only the third African American to teach at the university.