FRANKFORT — Prairie View A&M University Research Scientist and former Kentucky State University (KSU) Interim President Dr. William H. Turner will be the featured speaker at KSU’s Black History Month Series. The Harlan County, Kentucky, native will lecture on “The Future of Blacks in Appalachia” at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 28, in Bradford Hall Auditorium. The convocation will be the conclusion of Kentucky State University’s Black History Month Series.
Dr. Turner is the first person to hold the title of Research Scientist Leader of the Social Systems and Allied Research unit in the Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ Cooperative Agricultural Research Center.
He has held numerous administrative positions such as Interim President of Kentucky State University, Vice President for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kentucky, and Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador at Berea College. Dr. Turner has also served as a consultant for the Kellogg Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, other state and federal agencies and companies for his expertise in the area of grassroots organizations and diversity and inclusion practices and strategic planning.
His career has been focused on the qualitative and ethnographic population in the Appalachian region. Dr. Turner is one of the first to combine his interests in African-American and the Appalachian Studies with his textbook “Blacks in the Appalachia.” He has worked as a research associate with Alex Haley, the author of “Roots.” His essay on Black Appalachians was published into the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and he has served as the editorial advisor for the Encyclopedia of Appalachia.
Among his many honors and awards, he was named as the Christian Appalachian Project’s “Person of the Year” in 1994. Notre Dame University named him a “Distinguished Alumni Exemplar” in 2006. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2009, the Appalachian Studies Association honored him for a lifetime of service to the Appalachian region. The Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award is the highest honor bestowed by the organization and is given annually to an individual who has made exemplary contributions to Appalachia. During that same year, Dr. Turner was recommended by members of the Kentucky delegation in the US House of Representatives to President Barack Obama to serve as Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
— Shantel Booth