The Dr. Julian Pleasants Visiting Scholar Award

The Julian Pleasants Travel Award is a bi-yearly award, created in honor of Dr. Julian Pleasants, Director Emeritus of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and longtime Professor of History at the University of Florida.

Each year, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program grants a researcher with the Pleasants Travel Award, designed to promote cutting edge oral history research at the University of Florida and recognize innovative scholarship. The award includes a stipend of $1,000. Competition is open to graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars at UF and throughout the United States.

The deadline for the next Pleasants Travel Award was February 15, 2014. Interested applicants for the 2015 cycle should contact Dr. Paul Ortiz at for more information.

2013 Pleasants Travel Award: Dr. Regennia Clark

484793_520341864688731_1977399463_aDr. Williams is an Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University in Cleveland,Ohio. She received her B.A.s in Liberal Studies and Urban Studies, as well as her M.P.A. in Public Administration, from Cleveland State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Social History and Policy from Case Western Reserve University.

This summer, Dr. Williams conducted research in the Zora Neale Hurston papers at the University of Florida. This research will support her work on articles for a special Zora Neale Hurston issue of The Journal of Traditions and Beliefs, a scholarly publication she launched in the 2009-2010 academic year.  This publication is a follow-up activity for the September 2012 “Watching God and Reading Hurston” International Academic Conference, which commemorated the 75th anniversary of Their Eyes Were Watching God in2012-2013.  For more information on the conference, please visit

Dr. Williams also plans to develop new curriculum materials based on University of Florida manuscripts related to the life, art, and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston at the University of Florida,including Hurston’s work with Stetson Kennedy on the Florida Writers Project. The new curriculum materials will encourage history students and pre-service and in-service teachers to use maps, books, letters, etc. to explore the African roots of American cultures and contribute to “An Atlas of the Cultural History of the African Diaspora as Documented by Zora Neale Hurston,” an online publication that will consider the writer’s work throughout the American South and in Harlem, Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras, and other places in the African Diaspora. For information on Williams’ previous online publications, please visit her website,, and the Cleveland Chautauqua Blog at

Dr. Williams was in residence at the University of Florida throughout the month of June.

See the full press release.

Past Winners

2012 Pleasants Travel Award: Sarah McNamara

Sarah McNamara is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Sarah’s research interests focus on Latino/a Studies, Labor, Immigration, and Women and Gender. Her Pleasants Award research was on Latina women’s history in Florida.

McNamara is a former SPOHP intern and graduate of the University of Florida Class of 2009 in the Honors program. She also received her M.A. in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2010 Pleasants Travel Award: Raymond A. Eberling

Ray Eberling is an independent higher education professional based out of Gainesville, Florida. His research interests examine the intersection of politics, growth, race, and media in Postwar Florida. He used SPOHP’s archives to garner research for his current project, entitled, “Come on Down! The Selling of the Florida Dream, 1945-1965.”

Eberling received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1970. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and hopes to receive his Ph.D. in American Studies this coming year at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

2008 Pleasants Travel Award: Derrick E. White

Dr. White is an associate professor of History at Florida Atlantic University. He used the SPOHP collection to examine the integration of sports in the SEC, and at the University of Florida in particular. His research interests focus on African American and African Studies, the Civil Rights Movement, Colonial and Post Colonial Africa, Early American History, Slavery in the Americas, 20th Century American History, and the Post-Emancipation Caribbean.

Dr. White was also interviewed by the Florida Historical Quarterly about this research. The interview is available in a podcast.

Dr. White is the author of The Challenge  of Blackness:  The Institute of the Black World and Political Acitivism in the 1970s.  He is co-editor of the forthcoming Civil Rights and the Presidency from Nixon to Obama (2013) and is currently working on Blood, Sweat, and Tears:  The Rise and Fall of Florida A.&M. Black College Football Dynasty, which would be among the first scholarly analysis of Black college football.  He has published articles in the Journal of African American History, the C.L.R. James Journal, the Journal of African American Studies, and the Florida Historical Quarterly.

Dr. White earned his Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University and was also a dissertation fellow at the University of California-Santa Barbara Black Studies Department.

For more information about this award and other scholarship opportunities, contact the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at 241 Pugh Hall, 352-392-7168.