Elton H. Weaver III
Assistant Professor of Teaching
Ph.D., History, The University of Memphis, 2007
Fields of Interest
My research focuses on twentieth-century African American history and African American Religious History. I am particularly interested in how the historical Black Church impacted the Black Freedom Struggle. My book Bishop Charles H. Mason in the Age of Jim Crow reveals how a controversial black Holiness-Pentecostal preacher transformed a local migrant church into an urban phenomenon. His distinctive use of infrapolitics (“veiled cultural struggle”) exemplified religious protests and how these rituals of resistance sustained black lives and helped to unite poor blacks and whites fighting for freedom in segregated Memphis, Tennessee.
In 2016, I was LeMoyne-Owen College’s Project Leader for the city-wide sesquicentennial commemoration of the 1866 Memphis Massacre, led by Dr. Susan O’Donovan and Dr. Beverly G. Bond. As Project Leader, I coordinated the city-wide Memphis Massacre Commemoration program held at Metropolitan Baptist Church during Black History Month 2016 and performed the outdoor wreath-laying ceremony on February 3rd, 2016. See “Wreath Laying Ceremony at LeMoyne-Owen College,” https://youtu.be/vjYjVpd9wIw
African American History, United States History, African Religions in the Diaspora, the History of Black Protest in America, and the Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars Program Honors Course.
While serving at Memphis’s historically black higher learning institution, I held leadership positions that fostered our students’ achievements. I have directed LeMoyne-Owen College’s, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars Program, the Alpha Kappa Mu Beta Chapter Honor Society, and the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS). From 2013 through 2014, I, along with colleague and Sociologist Dr. Femi Ajanaku, coordinated the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s [ASALH] planning meetings held at LeMoyne-Owen College. Throughout the year, we helped organize the 99th Annual ASALH conference held in September 2014 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
For many years, I served as an Interviewer for the University of Memphis’s Department of History’s, Library of Congress Veterans Oral History Project. I have also acted as Session Commentator and Session Chair during the Department of History’s Annual Graduate Conference in African American History.
I am a commentator in With Infinite Hope: MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. With Infinite Hope explores the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, detailing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last campaign and assassination. This historical documentary first aired on PBS in February 2019, see https://www.withinfinitehope.com/.
For five years (2010-2015), I served as a Project Member of Mayor A. C. Wharton’s Higher Education Initiative, “Transforming Memphis into a College Town.” While serving, I helped increase diversity and equity. For example, my W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars participated in Mayor A. C. Wharton’s Student Leaders’ Meetings at City Hall. These meetings included a socioeconomically diverse set of students representing all the colleges and universities (including University of Memphis students) in Memphis, Tennessee. The sessions involved candid discussions with the Mayor, where our HBCU scholars were allowed to voice their thoughts and anxieties about the state of the city’s higher educational system. The Mayor asked the undergraduates what Memphis college students enjoyed most about being students in Memphis and ideas for ways the City of Memphis might help enhance their college or professional school experiences. Mayor Wharton said he wanted Memphis area students to know they are valued, their ideas matter, and their input counts. Our students were permitted to continue dialoguing with the Mayor throughout his two terms in office, and their contribution led the Mayor’s educational team to create the “Choose 901 Discount Card” (WWW.CHOOSE901.COM). The new “Choose 901” student discount card enabled all Memphis college and university students to receive discounts on public transportation and in designated stores and restaurants.
Bishop Charles H. Mason in the Age of Jim Crow: The Struggle for Religious and Moral Uplift (Lexington Books, 2020).
Book chapters, Contributing Editor
“Equal Power: Bishop Charles H. Mason and the National Tabernacle Fire,” in An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee eds. Aram Goudsouzian and Charles W. McKinney (University Kentucky Press, 2018).
“Working With Our Own Hands: Church of God in Christ Women in Tennessee,” in Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times Vol. II eds. Sarah L. Wilkerson Freeman and Beverly Greene Bond (University of Georgia Press, 2015).
Contributing editor, Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons 1750 to the Present. Edited by Frank A. Thomas and Martha Simmons (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010).
Review of Dr. Davis W. Houck’s Black Bodies in the River: Searching for Freedom Summer. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2022 Pp. 170, in The Journal of African American History’s Volume 109, Number 2, Spring 2024 issue.
Honors and Awards
Outstanding Advising Award, 2014 – Division of Student Affairs, LeMoyne-Owen College
Outstanding Service as a Student Organization Advisor Award, 2013-2014 – Division of Student Affairs, LeMoyne-Owen College
Distinguished Service Recognition Award, 2015 – President’s Office, Board of Trustees, Human Resources Reward & Recognition Committee, LeMoyne-Owen College
Distinguished Service Recognition Award, 2012 – President’s Office, Board of Trustees, Human Resources Reward & Recognition Committee, LeMoyne-Owen College
Appreciation for Outstanding Service Award, 2011-2012 – Center for African and African American Studies, LeMoyne-Owen College
What kind of Church is this: Histories of Protest and Survival in the Black Church?