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Albert Black

Became Interested In Sociology

His work as a diener reawakened Black's interest in medicine. He had begun to think that he wanted to be a "social doctor," or sociologist. Sociology is the study of how and why people form societies, and the effect those societies have on the people who live within them. Black's mother-in-law knew a dean at nearby Wayne State University, and with her encouragement and assistance, Black took some extra courses to bring his grades up and was accepted into the master's program in sociology at Wayne State.

As he reached the end of his master's program, Black saw a notice that the University of California at Berkeley was seeking students of color for their doctoral program in sociology. When one of his professors expressed doubt that Black could succeed in a difficult program at an elite school like Berkeley, Black worked even harder to do well in his master's work. He wrote such a good final paper that his professor relented and wrote him a letter of recommendation to Berkeley. In 1967 Black headed for California.

At a Glance...

Born Albert Wesley Black, Jr., on April 25, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan; married Varetta Jones, 1963 (divorced 1975); married Linda Thompson, 1977; children: children: Allison and Angela (first marriage); Alia and Nicole (second marriage). Education: University of Michigan, BS, zoology, 1963; Wayne State University, MA, sociology, 1967; University of California at Berkeley, PhD, sociology, 1976.

Career: California School of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California, Sociology Department, lecturer, 1969-70; University of California at Davis, Sociology Department, lecturer; 1971-2; University of Washington, Sociology Department and Black Studies Department, assistant professor, lecturer, senior lecturer, and principal lecturer, 1973–.

Selected memberships: National Association of Black Sociologists, American Society of Criminology, American Sociological Association.

Selected awards: University of Washington, Distinguished Teaching Award, 1977; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Seattle Alumnae Chapters, "Talented Tenth Award," 1993; Washington Alliance of Black School Educators, Certificate of Appreciation for Distinguished Service on behalf of Children, 1998; University of Washington, Outstanding Public Service Award, 1999; University of Washington, Office of Minority Affairs and Educational Opportunity Programs, Charles E. Odegaard Award, 1999.

Addresses: Office—Department of Sociology, Box 353340, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3340.

The late 1960s was a time of political protest and social movement in the United States, and Berkeley, California, was a major center of youthful unrest. Within weeks of Black's arrival in California he had joined a Young Socialist Party protest and had been arrested. He managed to convince university authorities that he was a dedicated and responsible young man, however, and continued his studies at Berkeley.

In 1973 Black was offered a job teaching sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Except for a brief period in 1976 when he returned to Berkeley to finish work on his Ph.D., he would remain in Seattle for the rest of his career. He not only became one of the most beloved and awarded teachers on the university campus, but he also took his commitment out into the community, speaking and teaching at countless workshops and public events over the years.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Shennen Bersani (1961-) Biography - Personal to Mark Burgess Biography - PersonalAlbert Black Biography - Encouraged Early To Get An Education, Success In High School Led To College, Became Interested In Sociology