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Leading Historian Receives National Humanities Medal

White House honors Darlene Clark Hine for contributions to African-American history

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July 23, 2014 | by Caitlin Tucker
Darlene Clark Hine at the White House
President Barack Obama greets historian Darlene Clark Hine at a White House ceremony. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino, courtesy of National Endowment for the Humanities.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and professor of history in Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has received a 2013 National Humanities Medal for outstanding achievements in history.

President Barack Obama presented the award to Hine at the White House July 28. She was one of 10 recipients of the award, which recognizes work in history, cultural studies, filmmaking, cultural commentary and historic preservation.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizen engagement with the humanities or helped preserve and expand access to important resources in the humanities. The medals were presented in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts at a White House ceremony.

Hine is a leading historian of the African-American experience and a pioneer in African-American women’s history. She has received the National Humanities Medal for her efforts in enriching the understanding of the African-American experience. Through prolific scholarship and leadership, Hine has examined race, class and gender and shown how the struggles and successes of African-American women shaped the nation today.

In an interview with Weinberg magazine, Hine said she wanted to write a new, more inclusive history of the United States.

“I have devoted the last four decades to excavating the past -- trying to find records and documents and stories from those who are not ordinarily included as significant participants in the making of America,” she said.

“Part of my obligation as a professor is to share what I’ve learned not only within the University, but also with people outside the gates, from all different walks of life.”

Hine teaches both African American studies and history at Weinberg. She is the author or editor of “The African-American Odyssey,” “Beyond Bondage,” “Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession,” “A Question of Manhood,” “A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America” and numerous other books and publications.

Other medalists were: literary critic M.H. Abrams; historians David Brion Davis and Anne Firor Scott; East Asian scholar William Theodore De Bary; architect Johnpaul Jones; filmmaker Stanley Nelson; radio hosts Diane Rehm and Krista Tippett; and the historical organization the American Antiquarian Society.