Dr. Bernard Powers ’72: A Voice for the VoicelessThe director of the Center for the Study of Slavery at the College of Charleston discusses his life's work.
Posted on February 4th, 2021 by

This February, Gustavus Adolphus College is recognizing Black History Month with a series of posts sharing feature stories, curated content, event postings, and historical information focusing on the experiences of Black community members and educational opportunities for all.

After growing up in Chicago and graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1972, Dr. Bernard Powers earned his doctorate at Northwestern University and has gone on to a distinguished career as a history professor at the College of Charleston and expert in Black History in the United States.

Powers currently serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston and is the co-author of We Are Charleston, a book chronicling the aftermath of the shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. The Gustie alumnus has appeared in several documentary works, including the PBS series African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

We have to continue to fight the battle, individually and collectively,” Powers said in a 2018 question-and-answer article in the Gustavus Quarterly.

“The Civil War consisted of many battles. There were setbacks, victories. We don’t know when the ultimate victory will come, but we must continue to struggle toward the mark.”

Watch the video to hear Dr. Bernard Powers talk about his life’s work, and how he sees his role as one that gives voice to the voiceless. More information about Powers is available online in this Gustavus feature.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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