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Ronald J. Stephens

Ronald J. Stephens

Professor // African American Studies // SIS

Professor // SIS

Affiliated Faculty // American Studies // SIS

Office and Contact

Room: BRNG 6176


Phone: 765-494-2151

Fax: 765-496-1581

Ronald J. Stephens is a Professor of African American Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University.  Former associate professor of African American History and Culture in the Department of African American Studies at Ohio University. A scholar on the African American resort town of Idlewild, Michigan, Dr. Stephens, a Detroit native, has worked as a research assistant on Ted Talbert's award-winning documentary-film Idlewild: A Place in the Sun (1995). Owing to his national reputation as a leading Idlewild scholar, he has appeared on and been cited in numerous public programs, including Idlewild: The Real Thing (an edition of Tony Brown's Journal), Idlewild (an NPR production), Idlewild: Rebuilding Paradise (a Flint's ABC 12 Special program), Are We There Yet? Americans on Vacation (a History Channel program), Idlewild, Michigan: A Black Historical Resort (on Milwaukee's Black Nouveau series), and Historic African-American Towns (a High Noon Productions program for Home and Gardens Television).

Along with numerous articles, he is the author of Idlewild : The Rise, Decline and Rebirth of a Unique African American Resort Town (University of Michigan Press, 2013); Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan (Arcadia Publishing, 2001), a popular pictorial reader that focuses exclusively on Idlewild's illustrious history; as well as  African Americans of Denver (Arcadia Publishing, 2008) . In addition to being a strong advocate and consultant to the Idlewild community, Dr. Stephens is also completing a second scholarly book, Robert Franklin Williams Speaks, which includes a collection of writings by and about the national and international activist, veteran civil and human rights advocate, critic, and pragmatist, and four chapters.

Author, Idlewild: The Rise, Decline, and Rebirth of a Unique African American Resort Town. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.