By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. –Dr. William H. Turner, professor, writer, speaker and consultant, will speak at Campbellsville University’s The Gheens Recital Hall, 210 University Drive, Campbellsville, Ky., at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 9.
The discussion is presented by the Diversity Policy Committee.
Turner, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Science in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Anthropology from University of Notre Dame, will be discussing his new book, “The Harlan Renaissance,” which has been nominated for the 2021 Weatherford Awards, as part of Black History Month.
Turner completed his post-doctoral at the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University.
His biography said Turner has “spent his professional career studying and working on behalf of marginalized communities, helping them create opportunities in the larger world while not abandoning their important cultural ties.”
Turner is best known for his ground-breaking research on African-American communities in Appalachia.
He studied economic systems and social structures in the south and Latino communities in the Southwest during his time as an academic and consultant.
“What he strives for on behalf of his clients and their communities is what we all want: prosperity, understanding and respect,” his biography said.
In 2017, Turner retired after serving as the research scientist leader at the Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, where he led the collection and analysis of data on underserved Texans, the economically insecure and long-term impoverished.
He served as the dean of arts and sciences and interim president at Kentucky State University, vice president for multicultural affairs at the University of Kentucky and Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador at Berea College. He also held positions at Duke University and Winston-Salem State University.
Turner co-edited the book “Blacks in Appalachia” and an essay published in the “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and the Encyclopedia of Appalachia.”
He was honored as the Christian Appalachian Project “Person of the Year” in 1994 and named the “Distinguished Alumni Exemplar” in 2006 for Norte Dame University. In 2007, Turner was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. He was also recognized in 2008 as the Dr. Martin Luther King Citizen of the Year on the basis of “advocating for the rights and expanded educational opportunities for people in Appalachian Kentucky.”
In 2009, the Appalachian Studies Association honored Turner for a lifetime of service to the Appalachian region. Also, in 2009, he was recommended by members of the Kentucky delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives to President Barack Obama to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
He was born the fifth of 10 children in the coal mining community of Lynch, Ky. in Harlan County. His grandfathers, father, four uncles and older brother were coal miners.
He and his wife, Vivian, the retired president of the R.J. Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, N.C., live near their children and grandchildren in Houston.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.