February 7, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky’s Rosalind Harris recently was presented with the George Washington Carver Public Service Award and inducted into the Hall of Fame during the 77th annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference at Tuskegee University.

The award recognizes an individual whose work mirrors the philosophy of George Washington Carver, as reflected in this statement by the renowned scientist: “It has always been the one great idea… to be the greatest good to the greatest number of people.” The conference views public service as significant accomplishments and contributions in the areas of extension and outreach activities designed to improve the quality of life for the rural clientele served by the 1890 land-grant universities and Tuskegee Institute.

“Dr. George Washington Carver lived his life with unwavering authenticity, courage and commitment to nurturing the well-being of a politically emancipated people still living under economic slavery post-Reconstruction,” said Harris, an associate professor in the UK Department of Community and Leadership Development. “I am deeply humbled and grateful for the honor of being acknowledged for working in the spirit of Dr. Carver's calling.”

Harris is involved in food justice and youth restorative justice research, teaching and community engagement. She received the award based on her history of research on the 1890 historically black land-grant institutions. Her most recent work documented Tuskegee University’s role employing its Southern Food Systems Education Consortium model to bring together 1890 land-grant universities and community-based institutions to develop a methodology for giving the community a voice in deciding a vision and mission for a Black Belt Regional commission. This resulted in a mobilization known as the Black Belt Initiative.

As the initiative wound down, Harris worked with scholars and community activists in the Black Belt region to reestablish the Black Belt Action Network, which developed a blueprint for the development of Black Belt Studies and Leadership Development Programs within the region’s higher education institutions. These programs would be poised to nurture leaders equipped to examine the history, cultures and current social, economic and political realities of the Black Belt region and had the collaborative skills to work with the region’s community-based organizations.

Harris is a past president of the Southern Rural Sociological Society and has received the 2019 Outstanding Community Development Educator Award from the Community Development Society in recognition of excellence in teaching and instruction.

The Department of Community and Leadership Development is part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Contact: 

Rosalind Harris, 859-257-7584

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