Edward H. Peeples, with Nancy MacLean
Afterword by James H. Hershman Jr.
From the University of Virginia Press
248 pages • 6 x 9 • Cloth
Also available as paperback and e-book
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About the Author
Edward H. Peeples
Dr. Edward H. Peeples, Jr. is Emeritus Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University where he taught for more than 30 years. Peeples made most of his academic contributions in the fields of medical behavioral science, public health, epidemiology and sociology. But much of his research and writing dealt with contemporary issues of social justice and he spent most of his adult life as a civil rights advocate involved in a variety of human rights reforms in Virginia and other places across the south.
Born in Richmond on 20 April 1935, Peeples received a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU) in 1957. He began his civil rights activity in 1955 while a student at RPI. In late 1959, soon after being discharged from the US Navy, he became a volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee in Prince Edward County, Virginia which had closed its public schools rather than racially integrate them. In February 1960, he participated in the first of Richmond's lunch counter sit-ins. He later did extensive field work and interviewing in Prince Edward which led to his Masters thesis, A Perspective on the Prince Edward County Virginia School Issue, at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. From this he produced several documents, some of which were later incorporated into reports and briefings for the United States Commission on Civil Rights; the U.S. Department of Justice; and the U.S. Office of Education in their efforts to find a resolution to the Prince Edward County school closing issue.
Peeples received a M.A. in Human Relations (Intergroup Relations) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963; and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in Sociology with a Concentration in Medical Behavioral Science in 1972. He began his teaching career at the Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute in 1963, prior to their merger in 1968 forming Virginia Commonwealth University. During his long academic career, Dr. Peeples taught, conducted research, consulted and published in the fields of medical behavioral science (behavioral factors governing clinical practice in the helping professions), behavioral epidemiology (behavioral causes, complications and consequences of disease, injury and disability), public health and community medicine, violence prevention, research methodology, intergroup relations (including race and ethnic relations and minority health), and sociology.
He was appointed by the Richmond City Council in the early 1980s to the Commission on Human Relations where he was elected both Vice-Chair and Chairman and also was appointed to the Richmond Environmental Commission in the early 1990s. Since his retirement in October 1995, Peeples has continued his efforts to help document the struggle for Civil Rights in Virginia and has worked with historians, researchers, numerous repositories, and with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission of the Virginia General Assembly. He is married and has four daughters and three grandchildren.
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 6 pm:
NAACP 2015 Annual Freedom Fund Awards Gala: Ed will be among those honored by the Richmond Branch of the NAACP, receiving their “Civil Rights Unsung Hero” award. Read more
Nancy MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the author of Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace.
James H. Hershman Jr.
James H. Hershman Jr. is on the faculty of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Georgetown University.
White southerners have long had ‘a rage to explain,’ but only a few have told about the South from a white working-class point of view. Scalawag is a riveting coming-of-age tale: the first-person story of a poor boy’s moral education. Overcoming the injuries of class and the crippling lessons of white supremacy, Edward Peeples went on to become a foot soldier in a long struggle for human rights. We are in his debt, and in the debt of his historian collaborators, for a memoir that illuminates a whole landscape of local activism too often eclipsed by a popular narrative focused on a few iconic events and individuals.