Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: February 25, 2010

For more information contact, Pat O'Brien, (901) 333-4247

Southwest Honors Academy Founder, Associate Professor Clarence Christian, Receives Woodson Award

Retired Associate Professor Clarence Christian last week received what he said to be one of the most cherished of the numerous awards of his career. On February 16, Dr. LaDonna Young, the newly appointed Honors Academy director, presented him the Carter G. Woodson Award, conferred annually by Southwest Tennessee Community College for the past 22 years.

The award is named for the noted historian and founder of Black History Month, who famously said, "Tell the truth to us, tell the truth on us," in declaring rigid, accurate honesty to be the single most important standard for historical research and writing. It is awarded to individuals, groups or agencies whose works most nearly support Dr. Woodson’s legacy of "historical accuracy through inclusion."

The establishment of the Woodson Award is, according to Christian, one of his most satisfying accomplishments at the college. In addition to the Honors Academy with its parallel acclaim through his leadership roles in the National Collegiate Honors Council, Christian founded the Human Key Society, co-founded the former Shelby State Chapter of the NAACP, was chosen to receive three Southwest Farris Awards, and is the only faculty member ever voted by the graduating class to be their commencement speaker, among many honors.

As busy in retirement as ever, he just returned from New Orleans where he facilitated an experiential learning experience for a group of students from the University of Eastern Kentucky and contributed some of his personal papers to the Amistad Research Center. Currently he is working with the participants of the 1969 Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) sit-in, helping to design an exhibition celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this important historical incident in Memphis' history, and gearing up for a National Endowment for the Humanities Big Read initiative scheduled in October.

"And we at Southwest are fortunate that he shows every intention of continuing to be active with the college," said Dr. Young.

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Photo caption: Dr. Ladonna Young presents the Woodson Award to Clarence Christian.