Paul Ortiz, Brooklyn College’s 2023–24 Hess Scholar-in-Residence

Paul Ortiz, Brooklyn College’s 2023–24 Hess Scholar-in-Residence

Hess Scholar-in-Residence Paul Ortiz

Paul Ortiz, Brooklyn College’s 2023–24 Hess Scholar-in-Residence, is professor of history and director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida (UF).

The Wolfe Institute will be hosting a number of events during the academic year to introduce Professor Ortiz to the campus community in anticipation of his residency during the week of April 1, 2024. During that week, the institute will host a number of public and private events with Professor Ortiz.

Associate Professor Helen Georgas, from the Brooklyn College Library, has prepared a Library Guide with free electronic access to a selection of Ortiz’s work.

Professor Ortiz is the author of several books, including An African American and Latinx History of the United States (2018) and Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida From Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 (2005); co-editor of People Power: History, Organizing, and Larry Goodwyn’s Democratic Vision in the Twenty-First Century (2021) and Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South (2014).

Ortiz’s An African American and Latinx History of the United States was identified by Bustle as one of “Ten Books About Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You.” Fortune listed it as one of the “10 books on American history that actually reflect the United States.”

He has published essays in The American Historical Review, Latino Studies, Cultural Dynamics, The Oral History Review, Kalfou, the Florida Historical Quarterly, and many other journals. He has been interviewed by Agencia de Noticias del Estado Mexicano, ARD German Radio and Television, Newsweek, Telemundo, The New Yorker, MoneyGeek, The Guardian, The Washington Post, BBC, Hong Kong Daily Apple, The New York Times, and other media on the histories of social movements and immigration, among other topics.

Ortiz is a former president of the Oral History Association. The Society of American Archivists bestowed its Diversity Award on the UF’s Proctor Oral History Program for its “relentless pursuit of community knowledge, local voices, and academic transformation [that] has created a monumental program that has impacted the lives of countless people in Florida and across the nation.” The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation noted that the program’s “social justice research methodologies are the focus of scholars and oral history programs across the globe.”

He is a PEN-award winning writer and a National Archives Distinguished Fellow in Latinx history. He was a consultant and featured narrator for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s The Black Church: This is Our Story, This Is Our Song, which premiered on PBS in 2021. He is a consultant and featured narrator for John Leguizamo’s American Historia docuseries on Latino history that will air on PBS in 2024 with the permission of the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild.

Ortiz is a third-generation military veteran and a first-generation college graduate. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division and 7th Special Forces Group in Central America, where he worked in multiple combat zones. He received the United States Armed Forces’ Humanitarian Service Medal for meritorious action in the wake of the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz stratovolcano in 1985.

Ortiz received his Ph.D. in history from Duke University in 2000, his B.A. from The Evergreen State College in 1990, and his associate of arts degree from Olympic College in 1988. His pathway to academia included working as an organizer with the United Farm Workers, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and many other unions and community organizations.

In 2013, Paul Ortiz received the César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award from the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO for “outstanding leadership through engaging in activities which dignify workers and by making notable contributions to the labor movement & demonstrating resilience in organizing workers, especially those who have been traditionally disadvantaged.” Ortiz is a past president of the United Faculty of Florida at UF (FEA-AFL-CIO), the union that represents tenured and nontenure-track faculty at UF.

Brooklyn. All in.