DURHAM, N.C. (April 7, 2021) — When George C. Wright arrived at Duke as a history Ph.D. student in August 1974, he felt the kind of anxiety that many new graduate students can relate to.
“I was scared to death; I just knew that Duke had made a mistake,” he said.
That anxiety abated, however, when he spoke with his director of graduate studies, the noted historian Anne Firor Scott.
“She said to me, ‘You’re going to make it here as easily as anyone we’ve ever admitted to the Ph.D. program,’” Wright said. “I was shocked, I was stunned, I was excited, but her comments typified what other faculty said to me. They were so supportive of me … and it made me realize that I was not pursuing this by myself.”
That realization helped Wright (Ph.D.’77 history) on his way to a long career as a scholar of African American history, a professor, and an administrator. All…