Benjamin A. Quarles

Historian, author and Morgan State professor Benjamin A. Quarles (Walter M. McCardell / February 1, 1983)

Benjamin A. Quarles
1904-1996

Benjamin Quarles was one of the country's foremost authorities on African-American history and a former history professor and department head at Morgan State University. He was born in Boston but taught at Morgan for nearly 40 years. He was the author of a dozen books, including "Frederick Douglass," "The Negro in the Civil War," "The Negro in the American Revolution," "The Negro in the Making of America," "Allies for Freedom" and "Blacks on John Brown." He also contributed to many more books as well as numerous academic articles and book reviews.

His flair for telling the story of African-American contributions to the nation's social and economic fabric carried his name far beyond the circles of academia.

"What he did was make black history accessible," said Eva Slezak, librarian in charge of the Enoch Pratt Library's African-American collection. Much of what is known today about the life of the Maryland-born abolitionist Frederick Douglass emerged in Dr. Quarles' meticulous research.

"Benjamin Quarles was one of the finest, most original historians of his generation," said John Hope Franklin, a distinguished African-American scholar and author.

In 1988 Morgan State University dedicated The Benjamin A. Quarles African-American Studies Room in the school library as a repository for books, manuscripts, and other memorabilia .

--Paul McCardell