Raised in Richmond, VA at a time when segregation was still widely practiced, Oliver Hill, Jr. was one of the first African American students at his local high school. Shaped by such an experience, Oliver took an interest in African history and philosophy at Howard University. These interests eventually set him upon a greater path of investigating human consciousness, and community history.
Appointed by Tim Kaine to the VFH Board of Directors in 2009, he has continued to be inspired, both professionally and personally, by the value of the humanities. Interested to share more about that multifaceted relationship with the humanities, Oliver recently sat down with Elliot Majerczyk in our radio studio.
I was particularly interested in the way that the VFH was telling the untold stories, in Virginia Indian history and the history in the Black community in Virginia.
I think you cannot have good science without connections to the humanities. Science started out as natural philosophy, and you need to have these kinds of broader perspectives.
When I first started to discover the breadth of African American history in the U.S. and African history, … it changed my sense of self and sense of personhood, and so it was driven home to me very clearly the importance of the context that history provides to anyone’s life.
Oliver Hill, Jr. is the Chair of the Psychology Department at Virginia State University. He received a BA in Comparative History from Howard University, and his MS and PhD in Psychology from the University of Michigan. His research focuses in Cognitive Psychology, specifically whether cognitive skills may be taught.
VFH is pleased to have him as a member of our Board of Directors.