Dr. Daphne R. Chamberlain is a 2001 alumna of the historic Tougaloo College where she completed her undergraduate studies in History. She went on to receive her Master’s and Ph.D. in History from the University of Mississippi. Over the past seven years, Dr. Chamberlain has worked diligently to both solidify and advance her professional agenda through teaching, scholarship, and service, all while being an advocate for Tougaloo College. As Dean of Social Sciences, she promoted a climate of professionalism and collegiality and a work environment that celebrated the diverse talents of Division faculty all while maintaining a culture of accountability and overseeing the academic well-being of Tougaloo students. Under her leadership the Division of Social Sciences added Social Work as a degree- granting program, established Social Justice Week, and continued to produce the largest number of graduates yearly at the institution. It was through Tougaloo College’s desire to establish a Public Policy Institute from conversations begun during the 50 th commemoration of Freedom Summer (2014) and her vision with support from Social Science faculty that this will become a reality. She has been instrumental in bringing in grants to the College for initiatives such as the Institute for Social Justice, the commemoration of Freedom Summer, other social justice programs, and the early planning of the Institute for the Study of Modern Day Slavery.
Prior to joining the faculty at Tougaloo College, Dr. Chamberlain served as the founding Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) Civil Rights Education Center at Jackson State University where she was responsible for the development of the former historic COFO state headquarters into a civil rights education center and programming offered to both the university and local communities. During her tenure as Director of the COFO Center, her proposal for the establishment of an Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations secured nearly $500,000 in funding. Prior to, she served as the Project Manager and Researcher for the multi-million dollar COFO Project which was funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This project entailed the preservation and restoration of an historic civil rights site that went on to and continues to house a small-scale museum and retail space on the Civil Rights Corridor along John R. Lynch Street. During the 2009-2010 academic year, she held an appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor in History and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi.
As a civil rights historian, Dr. Chamberlain’s research agenda has been to expand the existing body of knowledge on grassroots activism during the modern civil rights era in local communities. Her work engages with other scholarly works written on the Mississippi movement such as John Dittmer’s Local People and Charles M. Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of Freedom. Inspired by the attention Dittmer devoted to students at Jackson’s Lanier High School, she questioned other scholars’ marginalization of children’s participation in the movement. Based largely on oral histories, her research emphasizes the pivotal role of children between the ages of 7 and 18 in the black freedom struggle in Jackson, Mississippi, and in the national movement.
Dr. Chamberlain returned to Tougaloo College in 2013 where she is now an Associate Professor in History and currently serves as Associate Provost | Vice President for Academic Affairs.