Delores P. Aldridge Award Statement
In her life and work as a scholar, teacher, administrator and public intellectual, Dr. Delores Aldridge is a trailblazer whose work in the fields of race and ethnic relations and the development of African American Studies exemplifies the tradition of Oliver Cox, Charles Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier.
Dr. Aldridge’s achievements throughout her lifetime indicate that she is a pioneer in every sense of the term.She has been a “first” in nearly every major endeavor she pursued as a student and later as a professor:she was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Sociology from Purdue University; she was the first African American woman to receive a tenure-track position at Emory University and the first professor at a major university to receive a chair named in honor of a living African American woman.In 1971, Dr. Aldridge also established the first degree-granting Black Studies Program (later renamed African American and African Studies) at a major private university in the South, Emory University.These are only a few of the “firsts” in her very long list of accomplishments.
Prof. Aldridge has contributed over 150 publications to the fields of Sociology and African American Studies.Her publications have focused on intergroup relations,women in the labor market, male-female relationships, health and higher education in the African American community and cultural democracy and social justice.Her articles have appeared in such journals as Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Black Studies and the Journal of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.Among some of her more recent books are:Imagine a World:Pioneering Black Women Sociologists (2008) and Our Last Hope:Black Male-Female Relationships in Change (2008).Her work on Black women and gender studies is framed within the paradigm of intersectionality.This perspective can even be found in some of her earliest research before this became a major approach in sociological studies of gender.Prof. Aldridge’s writings, however, are not confined to the academic realm but rather, have also appeared in popular media such as USA Today, indicating some of her engagement as a public sociologist.
For over 35 years, Prof. Aldridge has been an outstanding teacher and mentor to countless students at Emory and other universities.As noted by one of her recommenders:
She is loved and admired by all of her students bringing a fierce passion andstrong intellect to the classroom.In several editions of Lisa Birnbach’s College Book…she was listed as one of Emory’s best professors.She was described as a professor who made theory and research come alive in theclassroom…She has also served as Coordinator for the SoutheasternUndergraduate Sociology Symposium.
Her excellent teaching and mentoring have been recognized with several awards including The Great Teachers of the Century Award from Emory University and the A. Wade Smith Award for Teaching, Mentoring and Service from the Association of Black Sociologists.
Prof. Aldridge’s expertise in stratification of gender, race and ethnicity, her high rate of productivity as a scholar-teacher, as well as her knowledge and experience in the establishment of African American Studies have made her a highly sought after consultant by many universities, foundations and corporations.In this capacity, she has worked with Hampton University, the University of Virginia, Yale University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Ronald McNair Foundation and AT&T among other institutions.Her leadership in a wide variety of venues is unparalleled among most scholars in the academy.Not only was she the two-term president of The National Council of Black Studies and president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Sciences, but she also co-chaired the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta.
Her efforts in the areas of social justice and human rights have not been limited to the United States.Dr. Aldridge demonstrated her commitment to advancing the position of black populations around the globe in her work on the Anti-Apartheid Committee of Emory University and as a consultant to the governments of the Gambia, Ghana and Senegal.Moreover, her dedication to sustainable development is revealed in the foundation she began (along with her husband) to provide support for health projects, scholarships and technology in some of Ghana’s rural areas and at the University of Cape Coast.
Given her countless contributions to the fields of sociology, African American Studies, Black Women’s Studies and to her many students, her leadership of numerous professional and community organizations and her work as an applied sociologist both here and abroad, there is no doubt that Prof. Aldridge is truly an outstanding scholar-activist!She embodies the traditions of Oliver Cox, Charles Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier in ways that would make them and surely make us proud to be sociologists!In 2006, the Southern Sociological Society also recognized her work in this tradition by presenting her with the Charles S. Johnson Award for her achievements on race relations in the South.
Delores P. Aldridge is the Grace Towns Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Women’s Health Research, School of Medicine, Emory University.