In the future, will people be digging through electronic files of texts and e-mails the way today’s historians look at journals and old newspapers? I hope not. Even in the age of digital technology, there are those of us who relish the actual touch and feel of paper. Among those who find our niche in collecting this kind of material, you’re going to see a bunch of us crawling into trash cans and Dumpsters, because many libraries and other institutions, unfortunately, are tossing books and magazines out.
Where did you get the nickname “Skip”? I was born at McLendon Hospital in Atlanta and named after my father, but my mother decided “Herman” sounded too rough and started calling me “Skipper.”
As an African American historian, what do you think of Black History Month? It’s still a necessary evil. Youngsters need to be exposed to black history, and it’s significant to have schools and teachers make a concerted effort to teach it. I do hope we’ve made progress in weaving the story of African Americans into all aspects of life, and the election of President Obama certainly has opened up black history to twelve months a year.