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Dr. David Colburn, University of Florida Professor of History

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Main topics of interest:

  • civil rights movement, esp. in St. Augustine
  • race relations in post-WWII America
  • Southern and Florida politics since 1945
  • Member of Salazar's 450th Commission

Academic Background

  • formerly provost and senior vice president at the University of Florida, 1999-2005,
  • chairperson of the Department of History at the University of Florida from 1981 to 1989.
  • Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1989 to 1995
  • member of the University of Florida history faculty since 1972.
  • Colburn’s teaching and research have focused on politics, race and ethnicity in 20th Century America.
  • named teacher-of-the-year on three occasions

Publications and Honors

  • authored or edited fourteen books,
    • Racial Change and Community Crisis: St. Augustine, FL, 1877-1989 (1985)
    • Southern Businessmen and Desegregation
    • The African American Heritage of Florida (1994) with Jane Landers, which won the Rembert W. Patrick Book Prize as the best book in Florida History and a special commendation from the Association of State and Local History in 1996.
    • African-American Mayors: Race, Politics, and the American City (2001) with Jeffrey S. Adler,
    • Reform and Reformers in the Progressive Era
    • From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans (2007)
    • Florida’s Megatrends with Lance deHaven-Smith (2010).
    • Government in the Sunshine State: Florida Since Statehood (1999) with Lance deHaven-Smith
  • Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, a professional organization of over 8,000 members,
  • Roads Scholar for the Florida Humanities Council, speaking internationally, nationally and statewide on history and politics.

Public Service

  • Member of Sect. of Interior Salazar's 450th Commission
  • one of the authors of the Rosewood Report in 1993, which was part of the inquiry of the State of Florida into the destruction of the town of Rosewood in 1923.
  • Fellow in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1997 where he worked on national and international issues.
  • founder and director of the Reubin O’D. Askew Institute on Politics and Society at the University of Florida. The Institute provides public programs to civic leaders and citizens on critical issues confronting Florida and the nation. In 1999, the Askew Institute received the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Florida Board of Regents for its service to the State of Florida and the nation.

Connecting academics to the larger audience: Colburn served as a regular contributor:

  • He has written over 150 essays on state, national and international politics.
  • Orlando Sentinel newspaper for twenty years
  • the Miami Herald,
  • St. Petersburg Times,
  • the Florida Times Union,
  • the Gainesville Sun, and
  • the Ocala Star-Banner.

Personal background

  • He is a Vietnam Veteran
  • attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971.