Dr. Darlene Clark Hine is a pioneer in the study of African-American history and the role of women within that narrative. But despite her standing as a leading scholar on Black women, that specialty came about almost by accident.
Hine was born February 7, 1957 in Morley, Mo. She attended Roosevelt University for her undergrad studies and later earned her master’s and Ph. D. at Kent State University. From 1972 to 1974, Hine was an assistant professor of history and Black studies at South Carolina State College. In 1974, Hine joined the faculty of predominantly-white Purdue University in Indiana.
In interviews and reports, Hine remembers much of her time at the school as intellectually and socially isolating as a Black woman. Things shifted drastically for Hine in 1980, then an associate professor at Purdue. She was approached by Ms. Shirley Herd, an Indiana schoolteacher and president of the local National Council of Negro Women to write a book about African-American women in the state.
This set Hine on a path of discovery, ultimately inspiring her to ensure that all aspects of the Black experience be told, in particular, ensuring certain that women are not erased from our history. Hine has released a series of books and resource guides, most notably co-authoring A Shining Thread Of Hope a comprehensive history of Black women in America.
Hine has also become a prolific writer of papers and studies, and her works are preserved by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Hine the National Humanities Medal for her scholarly works. Today, Hine is the Board of Trustees Professor of African-American Studies at Northwestern University in Illinois.