2018 Walter N. Ridley Lecture

Walter Ridley was the first African American to graduate from the University of Virginia, with a doctorate in education from the Curry School.  This series has been created to honor his legacy at the University and his contributions to the field of education.

Tatum 1200px (5)_0_0.jpgThe 2018 Walter N. Ridley Lecture

by Beverly D. Tatum
President Emerita of Spelman College

Tuesday, April 10th
Newcomb Hall
University of Virginia

Reception and book signing to follow.

Dr. Tatum is the former acting president of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she served as a professor of psychology and education and later as chair of the Department. In 1998, Dr. Tatum was appointed Dean of the College and Vice President for Student Affairs. While in that position, she directed the offices of the Dean of Students, Religious and Spiritual Life, Career Development and Health Services. Prior to serving at Mount Holyoke, Dr. Tatum was a faculty member at Westfield State College from 1983-1989 and a lecturer at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1980-1983. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wesleyan College and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as the Master of Arts degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary.

A nationally recognized authority on racial issues in America and a licensed clinical psychologist, she has toured extensively, leading workshops and presenting papers and lectures on racial identity development. Dr. Tatum is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, which was released as a twentieth anniversary edition in the fall of 2017. The book is the 2017-18 Curry School Common Read book selection.

Since its original publication in 1997, the book has been listed on the Independent Bookstore Bestseller list and was selected as the multicultural book of the year in 1998 by the National Association of Multicultural Education. The New York Times recommended the book as required reading for private school teachers and administrators in the greater New York area who were dealing with issues of race and class. Dr. Tatum is also the author of Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community (1987) and has published widely in social science and education journals. In May 2007, Dr. Tatum released Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation.

For more about Dr. Tatum, visit her website at Spelman College.


Sponsored by the Curry School of Education and the Ridley Scholarship Fund.


University of Virginia's First Black Graduate: Dr. Walter N. Ridley

Dr. Walter N. Ridley, a native Virginian and a respected, accomplished academic at one of Virginia's oldest public institutions of higher education (Virginia State College, Petersburg), was admitted to UVa three years before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision which ordered desegregation of public schools. He became the University's first black graduate in June 1953, and the nation's first African-American to receive a doctorate degree from a white southern university. Throughout his life, Dr. Ridley was committed to the education of black college students and making a positive impact on society.