Join us on Wednesday, February 7th at 5:30 pm for an In Conversation event with Travis D. Boyce. He’ll be chatting about his new book, Steady And Measuredalongside Dr. Shaniece Criss.
Find out more and don’t miss this free event!
Reassesses the career of Benner C. Turner, the polarizing African American president at South Carolina State during the civil rights era.
Travis D. Boyce considers the full sweep of Benner C. Turner’s life and career in the context of the contrary pressures of white and Black authority. Borrowing an expression from Michelle Obama’s remarks to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Boyce casts Turner, long-serving president of South Carolina State University, as a steady and measured leader who preserved the limited resources his historically Black institution possessed in the face of often hostile social, political, and economic power structures.
Previous accounts of Turner and his SC State presidency portray him as unwilling to criticize the state’s white power structure and unable to contend with their open resistance to civil rights. Boyce argues that the modern view of Turner flattens a complex terrain, often relying selectively on hostile sources, underplaying the political constraints on presidents of publicly funded HBCUs in the South. Considering Turner in a richer context, with a deep awareness of Turner’s early life formative influences, Boyce provides a more complete critical examination of his leadership in trying times.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Travis D. Boyce is an associate professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies & the Faculty Athletics Representative at San José State University. His research examines a wide range of issues relating to the African American experience, including the history of American higher education, the Civil Rights Movement, the 20th century, sports activism, and fashion studies. His works have appeared in academic & professional journals and edited collections. He is co-editor of Historicizing Fear: Ignorance, Vilification, and Othering (University Press of Colorado, 2020). Travis serves on the editorial boards for the Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture Journal and The Journal of Popular Culture. He also serves as the area chair (Black/African American Studies) for the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association and a board member for the South Carolina Historical Association.
A Greenville native, Travis is a proud graduate of Southside High School. He received his B.A in history from Claflin University in Orangeburg and his M.A. in history & Ph.D. in cultural studies from Ohio University.
He is currently working on his next book project, a biography profiling his late grandfather – Mr. A.J. Whittenberg, Sr (1913-2001), whose social activism led to the desegregation of public schools in Greenville, South Carolina.
Travis lives in San Francisco with his partner & fellow academic Dr. Angela Espinosa.
ABOUT THE CONVERSATION PARTNER
Dr. Criss is the Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Director of the MA in Advocacy and Equity Studies at Furman University.