Dr. Tillery is a scholar of U.S. history who specializes in African American and Civil Rights history. He received his Ph.D. from Kent State University. Professor Tillery has served as the executive director of the NAACP, Detroit Branch. He is the winner of the 1993 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Award on the subject of intolerance in the United States.
Dr. Tillery's undergraduate classes include African American history since 1877, Twentieth Century Black Protest, The Harlem Renaissance, and Introduction to African-American Studies. He also offers distance education courses. Professor Tillery teaches graduate seminars in the Civil Rights Movement; Literature and History of the Harlem Renaissance; and the Life and Times of W.E.B. Du Bois.
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Dr. Tillery's book Claude McKay: A Black Poet's Struggle for Identity received a "book of note" from the New York Times. He has been invited as a commentator by the Southwestern Historical Association and the Fourth Annual Conference on Latino Issues. He is currently doing research on the history of race and intergroup relations in Detroit from 1943 to 1968.
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Claude McKay: A Black Poet's Struggle for Identity (University of Massachusetts Press, 1992).
"The Inevitability of the Douglass-Garrison Conflict," Phylon: The Journal of Race and Culture, Vol. 37 (1976).