Shortly after being granted tenure, Brian K. Mitchell, an associate professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the university.
The suit claims that “Dr. Mitchell has experienced a nearly continuous pattern of discriminatory interference with achieving access to fair terms, conditions, and opportunities for advancement. These egregious, on-going acts of interference by senior UALR administrators began with Dr. Mitchell’s initial hiring negotiations, continued with unfair and improper evaluations, escalated when he reported discrimination concerns, and finally culminated with harassment and retaliation through official grievance and research oversight procedures.”
“UALR has a very public face in regards to diversity and having a diverse faculty. And then it has what’s happening privately,” Dr. Mitchell said. “What they don’t say is we’ve lost a tremendous amount of our faculty of color over issues like this. There are a number of people who have resigned or quit and not gotten tenure and left over these exact issues.”
Dr. Mitchell is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. His research interests include African American antebellum history, free Black communities, and urban history. Dr. Mitchell has taught at the university since 2006 and has served on the full-time faculty since 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in urban studies from the University of New Orleans.
In his research on the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Arkansas, Dr. Mitchell discovered that Leroy Johnston, a Black World War I veteran and victim of the massacre, had his medical records altered, denying him military honors that he deserved. Dr. Mitchell’s efforts resulted in Johnson’s family receiving federal benefits and several military medals. (See JBHE post.)