Benjamin Quarles, Historian   1 comment

Benjamin Arthur Quarles (January 23, 1904-November 16, 1996) was an African American historian, administrator, scholar, educator, and writer. Quarles’ major books included The Negro in the American Revolution (1961), Black Abolitionists (1969), The Negro in the Civil War (1953), and Lincoln and the Negro (1962). They were narrative accounts of critical wartime episodes that focused on how blacks interacted with their white allies .


Quarles was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a subway porter. He married twice, first to Vera Bullock Quarles, who died in 1951, and second to Ruth Brett Quarles. He had two daughters, Pamela and Roberta.

In his Twenties, Quarles enrolled at Shaw University and received his B.A. degree in 1931, M.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1933, and Ph.D. in 1940. He worked as an instructor of history at Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina (1935–39), a professor and dean at Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana (1939–1953), and a professor of history and chair of department at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland (1953–1974). At Morgan, Quarles reached near legendary status as the long-time head of the History Department, a revered teacher and counselor, an intellectual and professional mentor for two generations of African American scholars. Many of his books were required reading in the African American history courses that sprang up in eastern American Universities during the 1960s.

He was an active member of many political and historical organizations such as Project Advisory Committee on Black Congress Members, Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee, and American Council of Learned Societies. He was one of the few men in the profession who openly supported the founding of the Association of Black Women Historians.


A prolific writer, Benjamin Quarles published ten books, twenty-three articles, and hundreds of shorter pieces of various sorts. In his writings, Quarles focused on giving detailed attention to the contributions made by the black soldiers and abolitions of the American Revolution and the Civil War. His writings include:

  • The Negro in the American Revolution (1961)
  • Lincoln and the Negro (1962)
  • The Negro in the Making of America (1964)
  • Fredrick Douglass (1968)
  • The Negro in the Civil War (1968)
  • Black Abolitionists (1969)
  • Allies for Freedom (1974)
  • Black Mosaic (1988)
  • Moorg Against Tide & Patterns (Great Lives Observed) (2005)[2]
  • Blacks on John Brown[3]

Posted February 17, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

One response to “Benjamin Quarles, Historian

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