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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In Appreciation, In Memoriam


BlackPast.org is more than an encyclopedia and repository documenting, describing, and archiving information, stories, data, and analysis of African American History and History of the Global African Diaspora. It is a community of committed, caring individuals coming together  because they all share a dedication to uncovering, preserving, and describing the history of the African American people as part of the larger story of the United States. 

Thomas J. Pressly
Newspaper Clipping
Thomas J. Pressly, a longtime University of Washington historian  was one such academic who was an early supporter of BlackPast.org. The article he wrote for BlackPast.org, titled “Eyewitness to Terror: The Lynching of a Black Man in Obion County, Tennessee in 1931", was a reminder of the racial violence that far too often marred this nation's past. Dr. Pressly's essay describes one example of this violence and his reaction to it when he was just 12 years old. Thomas J. Pressly shared that story with many friends and colleagues over the years; in 2008 he wrote about it for the first time in BlackPast.org. Nearly 10,000 people have read his account since it was posted.  

Although Thomas J. Pressly was a significant historian of the Civil War and gave hundreds of presentations, the last time he was on television was in 2010 when a team from the BBC interviewed him about his article in BlackPast.org. He was tickled by the fact that the most important television interview in his life was not about his academic writings but instead on his article for the website.  


Dr. Pressly's bio on the BlackPast.org website reads: “Thomas J. Pressly (PhD., Harvard, 1950) is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington. A member of the faculty from 1949 until his retirement in 1986, and a specialist in Southern and Civil War history, Professor Pressly’s career spanned nearly four decades. During that period he taught nearly 20,000 students. His many publications include Americans Interpret Their Civil War (1954) and Voices from the House Divided: The United States Civil War as Personal Experience (1995). Professor Pressly lives in Seattle, Washington.” He passed away here on April 3, 2012. Readers may wish to learn more about him by reading his obituary in the Seattle Times and in the tribute written by his UW colleague, Richard Kirkendall. 
Tom Pressly & Richard Kirkendall

To give a gift to the University of Washington in Tom Pressly's honor, please visit this link or contact the History Department at 206-543-5790. To give a gift in memory of Tom Pressly to BlackPast.org, please visit this link.

We at BlackPast.org will always remember Thomas J. Pressly as part of our family.

1 comment:

  1. They did more than document scanning services for all of those historical documents. They ensured that all those people will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, and thank you.

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