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Delores P. AldridgeGrace Towns Hamilton Professor of Sociology and African American Studies

Dr. Delores P. Aldridge, EMERITUS (Ph.D. Purdue University) is the Grace Towns Hamilton Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Emory University, the first distinguished chair named for a living African American woman and in African American Studies at a major institution. Dr. Aldridge was the first African American woman faculty member at Emory where she became the founding director of the first Black Studies degree granting program in the South in 1971 which she administered until 1990. In 2003, the Delores P. Aldridge Excellence Awards were inaugurated at Emory. This is one of three awards named for her, another being the Excellence Faculty/Staff Award at one of her alma maters, Clark Atlanta University. And., a third is the Delores P. Aldridge Academic Achievement Award inaugurated in 2010 by the National Black Herstory Taskforce. There are numerous documentaries focusing on her life.

The Phi Beta Kappa trained sociologist and clinical social worker, civil rights activist is the recipient of more than 100 awards including the premier Thomas Jefferson Award (recognizing distinguished service to Emory and to the development of Black/Africana Studies as one of its pioneers) from Emory University with Russian premier Mikhail Gorbachev participating in the presentation. Also, the recipient of the Georgia Governors Award in the Humanities for contributions to Georgia, and six teaching awards from Emory including a Great Teacher of the Century Award as well as the Association of Black Sociologists’ Teaching, Mentoring and Service Award. And, she was listed in Lisa Birnbach’s Guide to American Colleges on three separate occasions as one of Emory’s three best teachers. Other awards from national, regional and local professional organizations and institutions have been bestowed upon her including a W.E.B. Du Bois Award from the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists for her scholarship. She is the recipient of the Southern Sociological Society’s 2006 Charles S. Johnson Award for an extraordinary career in race and the South and is the recipient the 2010 Cox, Frazier, Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Sociological Association. She was honored as the unprecedented two term elected president of the National Council for Black Studies and has served as consultant to more than 90 foreign governments, US federal agencies, social agencies, educational institutions and foundations as well as corporate entities, she is author or editor of more than 160 commentaries, monographs, articles and books with emphasis on race, gender, families, social policy, ethnicity, intergroup relations, diversity, and cultural democracy. 

While serving on numerous editorial boards including the Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora, she is a founding member of the book series African Americans in the West, University of Colorado Press (2004). She has guest edited special issues of leading journals in the field including Phylon: Review of Race and Culture, Journal of Black Studies, and Western Journal of Black Studies. One of her first publications, seminal in social stratification, focused on Black Women and the Economic Marketplace: A Battle Unfinished (1974). Another seminal work is entitled Toward Integrating Africana Women into Africana studies (1992). Other publications include: Racial Ethnic (1987); Coping with Conflict: The Natural Resource Agency (1983); Black Male-Female Relationships: A Resource Book (1989); Focusing: Black Male Female Relationships (1991); Leadership for Diversity (1994) and, Out of the Revolution: The Development of Africana Studies, co-editor(2000), co-author,Every Black Woman Should Wear A Red Dress ((2003) and editorial author on diversity and cultural democracy in such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune (February 20,1994) and USA Today (May 7, 1984) and had feature stories in numerous dailies including The Atlanta-Constitution Journal and Tampa Tribune. Her most recent works are Our Last Hope: Black Male-Female Relationships in Change (Authorhouse, 2007); Philosophical Perspectives and Theoretical Paradigms In Africana Studies (co-editor) (Washington State University Press, 2007); and, Imagine A World: Pioneering Black Women Sociologists (Academic Press of America,2009,2010). 

Professor Aldridge has lectured widely both nationally and internationally. She has served as president of national organizations on four separate occasions including an unprecedented two term presidency of the National Council for Black Studies and a term as president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists, Inc. She has also served as chair of the board of several organizations including the International Black Women’s Congress. Throughout the course of her career, Dr. Aldridge has moved back and forth between theory and practice in a productive way. As a Merrill postgraduate fellow at the University of Ireland-Dublin, she initiated programs and training institutes in mental health across the country. In the 1960s, she developed social services for the first comprehensive mental health center located in a general hospital in the U.S. A few years later, she served as the first chief administrative officer at the Greater Lafayette Community Centers in Indiana. At the beginning of the 1980s, while on leave at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she became the first sociologist to serve as a policy analyst with the U.S. forest Service. In 2000, she co-founded KESS NSONA Health and Education FOUNDATION and currently serves as its President as well as Vice-Chair of the Dekalb County, Georgia Development Authority which she has represented in China and Africa. She devotes major amounts of time to other community and civic activities, co-chairing the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and a charter member of Care International-Atlanta, the first local affiliate of this international service organization.

In the February, 2009 issue of Upscale magazine, Dr. Aldridge was profiled in an article entitled “History in the Making.” In this 20th Anniversary of the magazine’s existence, there are twenty individuals profiled beginning with President Barack Obama. Upscale states: “Filling the shoes of legendary civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Rosa Parks is no easy feat. Along with other contemporaries, they (those profiled) helped pave the way for many of the changes and rights that we now enjoy. Historic events continue to unfold before our eyes. Last November, we elected our first African-American president–but he’s not the only one making strides. Take a close look at President Obama and 19 other achievers who are working hard to create a better tomorrow for the world.”