Portrait of Orville Vernon Burton

Orville Vernon Burton

b. 1947

Orville Vernon Burton is the Judge Matthew J. Perry Distinguished Chair of History and Professor of Global Black Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, and Computer Science at Clemson University.

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Burton taught for 34 years at the University of Illinois, where he is emeritus University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and Professor of History, African American Studies, and Sociology. His research and teaching interests are American history, with a particular focus on race relations and community. He has served as president of the Southern Historical Association and of the Agricultural History Society. Burton is a prolific and prize-winning author and scholar (more than twenty books and nearly three hundred articles). The Age of Lincoln (2007) won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Literary Award for Nonfiction and was selected for Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, and Military Book Club. One reviewer proclaimed, “If the Civil ar era was America’s ‘Iliad,’ then historian Orville Vernon Burton is our latest Homer.” His co-authored Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court (2021) was deemed “authoritative and highly readable” by reviewer Randall Kennedy of Harvard University Law School in The Nation. In 2022 he was appointed to the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College, and received the Southern Historical Association’s John Hope Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award.

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