Professor Laurie Maffly-Kipp will be in Heidelberg, Germany at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies as a visiting professor and to receive the Pennington Award for her work in African American Religious History.
The prize pays tribute to the African American churchman and former slave James W.C. Pennington, who in 1849 received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University. Born in 1809, Pennington escaped bondage at the age of eighteen. He learned to read and write, and in 1834 was the first black man to attend classes at Yale University. In 1838 he was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church. At the 1849 World Peace Congress in Paris, Pennington was befriended by the Heidelberg scholar Friedrich Carové. Pennington so impressed Carové that in the same year he persuaded the Heidelberg Faculty of Theology to confer a doctoral degree on the black minister. It was the first time that an African American received this highest academic honor from a European university and perhaps from any university worldwide.
For more information, see here.