Driven by his desire to teach and inspire, Mount Olive, North Carolina native, Jim C. Harper, II, has spent over two decades sharing the knowledge needed to grow and succeed through lessons of the past. After his service in the United States Marine Corps, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University and Ph.D. from Howard University. He has been employed at North Carolina Central University for over 20 years and is the recipient of multiple teaching awards including the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award and the NCCU Excellence in Teaching Award. He was selected as the Colonel Charles Young Trailblazer Award recipient which recognizes distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the community, leadership, and youth. Currently he serves as Chair and Professor of History at North Carolina Central University.
Dr. Harper’s research interests include African American and African education and independence movements in the 20th century. He has published one book, Western Educated Elites in Kenya, 1900-1963: The African American Factor and served as lead editor of Topics in the African Diaspora. He has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, and book chapters. He is currently working on a co-authored manuscript on the History of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. which will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2023. He has also completed several Public History community engaged research projects including a Durham Beginnings, Digital Mapping Project, and a Durham Memories Oral History Project.
Dr. Harper is a member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society as well as the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is an active member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) where he served as the National Vice President for Programs (2016-2018). He is also a member of the American Historical Association and the Oral History Association.
Dr. Harper is committed to mentoring people both at the university and in the greater Durham community. He uses his research to inspire students and the public’s awareness and interest in history. No matter the outlet he uses, his hope is that every student can find confidence in their abilities. At the same time and while finding inspiration from an Aristotle quote, he helps students to realize that “excellence is not an act, but rather a lifelong habit” that should be used in accomplishing all of their goals.