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Dr. Monroe Fordham

Dr. Monroe Fordham

Monroe Fordham was born on October 11, 1939 in Parrott, Georgia. His mother’s name was Arie Deloris Oxford, and his grandparents were Mance and Sarah Ann Oxford. Fordham earned an MS degree from Emporia State University, and in the fall of 1970 he entered a doctoral program in history at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he earned a PhD in 1973.  He was a faculty member of the History Department at Buffalo State College from 1970-1998.  He served as department chair for 12 years.  During his tenure as a faculty member at Buffalo State College, Fordham pioneered a number of initiatives aimed at preserving state and regional African American historical sources.  He also worked with numerous community groups in developing records management and records preservation programs.

Fordham is the author of two books, Major Themes in Northern Black Religious Thought, 1800-1860 (1975), and A History of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Buffalo, New York (1977) and numerous scholarly articlesSince 1977 he served as editor of Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, an interdisciplinary journal that is published two times per year.  He co-edited, with his daughter, Pam Fordham, The Oxford Family Newsletter.  Fordham is also the author of numerous articles and book reviews in the field of African American History.

Fordham was a founding member of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, Inc.  For more then thirty years, this organization has been dedicated to the preservation of African American history of Western New York.  Fordham has spearheaded the Association’s microfilm project, which films the papers of local individuals and organizations.

In 1986, Monroe Fordham was one of 50 educators in the United States selected by the American Association for Higher Education, the Carnegie Foundation and Change Magazine as a professor who made a difference in higher education. In 1993, Fordham received the Emporia State University Outstanding Alumni Award. In 1995 he was inducted into the Emporia State University Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Following his retirement, and in recognition of his work in regional and community history, Buffalo State College established the Monroe Fordham Center for Regional History in 2002.  In 2001 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree by the State University of New York.  In 2005, Fordham was the recipient of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s (ASALH) Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion.  ASALH was founded by Dr. Woodson in 1915, the annual Woodson Award is presented to a scholar whose career is distinguished through at least a decade of research, writing and activism in the field of African American life and history.

Fordham resided the rest of his life in Buffalo, New York.  For 46 years, he had been married to the former Freddie Mae Harris of Kansas City, Kansas, also a career educator.  The couple has three children and six grandchildren. Dr. Moroe Fordham passed away on June 13, 2012.

Click here for records of Dr. Fordham's tenure at Buffalo State College.

Click here for the records of Dr. Fordham after his retirement.

Click Here for a link to Dr.Fordham's autobiography.


Vertical Files of Dr. Fordham:

Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier “Commemorating 35 Years of Preserving African American History of the Niagara Frontier for Future Generations,” Souvenir Journal, May 7, 2010

Autobiography “Monroe Fordham: A Short Autobiography”

Chapter from Autobiography “Why I left Wichita, KS and relocated to Buffalo, NY”

Conference “Conference to honor historian, educator, Dr. Monroe Fordham,” The Challenger, October 13, 1999

Conference “Fostering Community Through Applied History: A Multidisciplinary Conference in Honor of Dr. Monroe Fordham,” October 22-23, 1999, folder of materials from conference

Interviews oral interview transcriptions of prominent African American Western New Yorkers: Rev. J.B. Benton, Ells Clark, Raymond Jackson, Alberta Nelson, and Dr. E.E. Nelson

Million Man March “Occasional Papers of the Department of History and Social Studies Education: ‘The Historical Context of the Million Man March,’” presented at the Phi Alpha Theta Banquet, May 1996, reprinted for conference

School Days “We Remember: Memories of School Days and Growing Up Black in Orlando, Florida, 1940-1957; Members of the Jones High School Class of 1957; In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Our Graduation,” editor: Monroe Fordham, 2006

Video from the Monroe Fordham Conference, October 22-23, 1999, brief description of each of the seven video tapes



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