Society Founders

Executive Board


Jacob U’Mofe Gordon, Ph.D.; LL.D (Hon), is Professor Emeritus of African & African American Studies (History) at the University of Kansas, State of Kansas, USA; and Former Kwame Nkrumah Endowed Chair, University of Ghana. Dr. Gordon is the author and/or co-author of more than 30 books, monographs, and numerous articles, including the book, Africa and the African Diaspora in the Development of the Global North: The American Story (2020)

Vice President

Dr. Agnes Ngoma Leslie is a Master Lecturer and Outreach Director at the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida. She teaches courses in African studies with a specialization in “Women and Politics” and “China and Africa Relations.” Her publications include Social Movements and Democracy in Africa: The Impact of Women’s Rights in Botswana published by Routledge in New York and London, Encyclopedia of African History and Culture (senior editor): A Learning Source Book. She has served as editor for the African Studies Quarterly special issues publications focusing on China and Africa’s relationship and published refereed publications. She is also the editor of Teach Africa: Taking Africa to the Classroom, a publication which promotes the teaching of Africa and has edited and published more than 20 editions of the publications. She has been a recipient of a Fulbright award to Zambia from 2015-2017.


Barbara McDade Gordon is Professor Emeritus, Geography & African Studies, University of Florida.  She is affiliate faculty in Center for the Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) in College of Arts and serves on the UF African American Studies Advisory Board.  She is a founding director of the Alachua County African and African American Studies Historical Society, member of Alachua County African American History Task Force, President of Welcoming Gainesville & Alachua County, and Secretary of the United Nations Association-Gainesville. 


Stephanie Birch (MLIS, MA African Studies and MA History – University of Illinois) is the African American Studies Librarian at the University of Florida Libraries in Gainesville, Florida. Birch serves as a liaison to the African American Studies and Oral History Programs. She is also curator of the Dr. Patricia Hilliard-Nunn Black Film & Film Literature Collection, which launched in February 2021. Birch has played a pivotal role in the re-development of the Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History, the largest open-access repository of Black oral histories in the Gulf South. Her research interests include community-based engagement and research; learner-centered library instruction, outreach, and engagement; and the Black digital humanities.

Board Members

Research & Development Committee Chair

Delia Steverson is an Assistant Professor of African American literature at the University who researches the relationship between race and disability in African American literature. A 2021-2022 Career Enhancement Fellow, Delia’s work has been recently published in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies and the College Language Association Journal. She has also serves as Assistant Dean of Students for a non-profit educational organization centered on providing high school students with immersive career explorations in STEM, business, and law. As a Curriculum Developer and Course Director, she has trained instructors, and planned and implemented college-level writing courses for pre-college students studying abroad in Central America, South Pacific, and Asia.

Public Relations Committee Chair

R. Hunt Davis, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) is Professor Emeritus of History and former Director, Center for African Studies, University of Florida. Hunt and his wife Jeanne arrived in Gainesville in fall, 1967, to become the first historian of Africa at UF. His teaching covered the history of Africa at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, while his research has focused largely on southern Africa. The author of several books and numerous articles and book reviews, Hunt also has extensive editorial experience as the editor of both the African Studies Review and the African Studies Quarterly. He also has worked extensively with public school teachers, leading summer institutes, conducting in-service workshops, and organizing and leading teacher trips to Africa. His initial travel to Africa was for his Ph.D. dissertation research in South Africa, and in 1999 he was a Visiting Fulbright Professor at the University of Cape Town. He has traveled widely on the continent and has presented lectures and seminars at several African universities. Jeanne was for many years a librarian at then J.J. Finley (now Carolyn Beatrice Parker) Elementary School. Their sons Richard and Jonathan are both graduates of Gainesville High School.

Education Committee Chair

Phyllis Edwards Erney, Ed.S. and M.Ed – University of Florida, retired Alachua County Educator. Ms. Erney has been a resident in Alachua County for 47 years and served as an Alachua county public schools educator for  32 years, both as a special education teacher and school counselor. She was selected as the Alachua county and the State of Florida middle school counselor of the year in 2006 for her advocacy and service. Since retirement, Ms. Erney has continued to serve as a community advocate for public education by her leadership role on the Alachua County League of Women Voters Education committee, the Alachua County Schools Discipline committee, Gainesville for All Empowerment Zone Education committee and the Alachua County African American History Task Force. Ms. Erney is married to Tom Erney, PhD and they are parents of two adult children and four young adult grandchildren.

Sustainability & Budget Committee Chair

Richard Macmaster [Add bio]

Founding Members

Dr. Sophia Acord

Paul Adams

Betty Calhoun

Dr. Thomas Erney

Lizzie Robinson Jenkins (Lifetime Member)