Another Light on the Hill Black Students at Tufts

About Professor Gerald Gill (1948-2007)

Gerald R. Gill was a beloved faculty member in the History Department of Tufts University from 1980 to 2007. In those twenty-seven years he had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of his students and the Tufts community as a whole. Professor Gill was well known for his mentorship of his students, and for developing relationships that often extended beyond the students’ years at Tufts. He won numerous awards for teaching at Tufts and beyond and was twice named Massachusetts Professor of the year. Professor Gill was heavily involved with community service, working with students and student groups at Tufts and serving as a frequent commentator on events and topics involving Boston’s African American community on radio, television, and at community events.

Professor Gill’s scholarship focused on African American protest movements. His dissertation, Dissent, Discontent and Disinterest: Afro-American Opposition to the United States’ Wars of the Twentieth Century, evolved into published articles and a book project. At the time of his death, he was working on a history of African American protest in Boston, Struggling Yet in Freedom’ s Birthplace: Black Protest Activities in Boston, 1930-1972. Professor Gill’s work researching the African American community at Tufts resulted in his published version of Another Light on the Hill in Tufts Magazine’s sesquicentennial issue.

Professor Gill passed away suddenly in August 2007. In September 2016 his daughter, Ayanna Gill McGee, donated nearly 150 boxes documenting his life and work to Tufts Digital Collection and Archives (DCA). The collection of papers, photographs, and digital files, from which this exhibit is drawn, documents Gill’s teaching, research, as well as lives and work of black faculty, staff, and students at Tufts. Stefana Breitwieser, Steven Gentry, and Sony Prosper, Archives and Reference Assistants, processed and described the materials under the direction of Adrienne Pruitt, Collections Management Archivist, in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. A finding aid is available in the Tufts Digital Library. The collection is open for research in the DCA reading room.