Washington State Magazine

Fall 2012 Washington State Magazine cover

Fall 2012

In This Issue...


The China Connection :: China buys $11 billion of Washington exports and sells the state $31 billion of imports, in the last few years overtaking Japan as Washington’s second largest export destination. With WSU’s efforts to overcome linguistic, informational, and trade barriers, who knows where that economic relationship might lead? by Larry Clark ’94

Engineers in the Making :: At a time when Washington is a net importer of engineers, a more appreciative vocabulary could tempt a new generation of students into studying engineering. by Hannelore Sudermann

Race, Class, and William Julius Wilson’s World of Opportunity :: Half a century ago, WSU was a national leader in producing black doctors of sociology. Among them, William Julius Wilson ’66 PhD—recipient of 45 honorary degress and the National Medal of Science, and author of landmark works that redefined poverty and race. “Going to WSU,” he says, “was the greatest decision I ever made in my life.” by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: A “Monumental” Impact African American sociologists at WSU }

Life Histories: The Butterflies of Cascadia :: In documenting the life histories of Cascadia’s butterflies, every one of the 158 species represented a separate research project. The result has been a wealth of biological and ecological knowledge that simply did not exist before David Nunnallee and WSU entomologist David James began their monumental task. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: Elusive butterfly of Cascadia }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Vineland }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Stories: Excerpts from WSU oral histories }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Report: The dangers of a big Cascadia earthquake }


:: In Season: Summer Blues

:: Last Words: Mural, mural, on the wall

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Poem: Hanford Reservations by Graham Hutchins}

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Press conferences with WSU football coach Mike Leach }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Visual Fireworks—The making of Pat Siler’s downtown Pullman mural }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Photo: The Palouse Country Club, 1975 Architects from the class of ’76 }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Highlights of Marcus Capers’ WSU basketball career }

New Media

:: Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War by Erika Kuhlman ’95 PhD

:: Finding the River by Jeff Crane ’04 PhD, ’98

:: Dove Creek by Paula Marie Coomer

:: The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States by Mark Fiege ’85 MA

:: New & Noteworthy: Images That Injure edited by Susan Dente Ross and Paul Martin Lester; Seaside Stories by S.R. Martin, Jr. ’74; Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies by David G. James and David Nunnallee

Cover: Collage of Anise Swallowtail butterflies, photos courtesy Roger Jones.

Fall 2012
Web Exclusives
James E. Blackwell. (c) Irving Johnson/IRV3.com


James E. Blackwell. © Irving Johnson/IRV3.com

A “Monumental” Impact

by Eric Sorensen | © Washington State University

In 2004, the American Sociological Association gave the WSU sociology department its esteemed DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award, noting that the department had produced more than two dozen African American doctoral degrees, many of whom went on to make major contributions in the field.

“The cumulative impact that this institution has had on shaping African American scholarship has been an absolutely monumental and a living tribute to the pioneering scholarship and social activism of W.E.B DuBois, Charles S. Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier,” the award said.

Charles U. Smith ’50, professor emeritus of sociology and former dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Florida A&M University, was the first African American to earn a WSU doctorate. In 2000, when he received his own DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award, the association called him “a strong civil rights advocate whose writings on black protest, civil rights, the psychic costs of segregation, integration and segregation in the schools, and changing U.S. race relations have shaped our thinking and public policy.”

Anna Harvin Grant ’56 was the first woman to earn a doctorate in sociology from WSU. She went on to become a nationally recognized expert in black family life and the first department head at Morehouse College, where she spent 35 years. In her 2004 Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituary, her colleague Obie Clayton said she, “produced more black male sociologists than anyone else.”

As a freshly minted associate professor of sociology at San Jose State, James E. Blackwell ’59 ran the local NAACP chapter out of his home—no one would rent them an office. He increased the chapter’s membership five-fold while fighting employment discrimination and getting the city council to pass a fair housing ordinance. He went on to work for the Peace Corps and chair the University of Massachusetts-Boston Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where he tripled the number of faculty. In 1986, a study reported in Social Forces ranked Blackwell number five among black holders of doctorates in sociology, living or dead.

Edgar Epps ’59, now a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education, has had postings at the University of Chicago, Tuskegee University, the University of Michigan and Florida A&M. He has studied race, class, and educational opportunity, including desegregation in urban schools and the effects of vouchers, magnet schools, and charter schools on urban education.

The first African American graduate from the University of Arkansas, Gordon Morgan ’61 returned in 1969 to be one of the school’s first black professors. He is now a University Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

Franklin Wilson ’73 is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Bette Dickerson ’86 is an associate professor of sociology at American University and a past President of the Association of Black Sociologists.

Categories: Sociology, Cultural studies | Tags: African Americans, Sociologists, Awards