The Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal will welcome Kentucky native Jamye Coleman Williams, Ph.D. as the first presenter in its inaugural Master Teacher Lecture Series Thursday, April 5 at 11 a.m. in the Carl M. Hill Student Center Ballroom.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

At 99, Dr. Williams remains a powerful and vibrant authority on matters relating to education, religion and contemporary affairs.

As a master educator, activist and leader in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, Williams, a Kentucky native, is a legend. Besides a teaching career which spanned 50 years—the last 14 of which she served as the head of the Department of Communication at Tennessee State University—Williams is noted for assuming the editorship of The AME Church Review, the oldest black journal in America in 1984. In doing so, she became the first woman to be elected as a major officer in the then 197-year history of the A.M.E. Church.

“Dr. Williams represents the very best of teaching and the vest best of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) culture,” Atwood Institute Director Dr. Crystal A. deGregory said. “As a master teacher, her career of distinction demonstrates mastery of both curriculum and instruction—distinguished by instruction of the head, hands and heart.”

A graduate of Wilberforce, Fisk and The Ohio State universities, Williams taught the humanities to thousands of students at five HBCUs. Many became notable in their fields, including: opera singer Leontyne Price, Grammy-winning gospel singer Bobby Jones, Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph; and, in addition, eight students of hers became AME bishops, three became college presidents and two became seminary presidents.

Inducted into the Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 1936, Williams married her husband, Dr. McDonald Williams, who also taught English at many colleges, in 1943. They have one daughter, Donna, one grandson, and two great-granddaughters. Williams resides with her husband in Atlanta.

The Master Teacher Lecture Series is designed to spotlight the life and work experiences of master teachers, offering the Kentucky State campus and wider community opportunities to learn from distinguished educators whose careers, in theory and praxis, exemplify good teaching and support student learning.

For more information, please email