Melvin D. Williams

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Melvin Williams Profile

Professor Anthropology

208 West Hall, 1085 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107

Office Location(s): 208 West Hall
Phone: 734.764.7154
mddoublu@umich.edu

  • About

     Dr. Williams is professor of anthropology with an affiliate appointment in the Center for African and African-American Studies. He has done research and published on the Strait Salish of vancouver Island, urban pentecostalism, urban neighborhoods, African-Churches in the Midwest, critical race theory, human nature and the mirror images of water and human nature. Dr. Williams has worked in the Belmar Neighborhood for 40 years and continues to the present. He has established a community museum there to document the social changes during the past century. He produces a television program there entitled LIFTING THE VEIL.

    I spent my boyhood in an urban ghetto in Pittsburgh at Number 4 Cassatt Street. The street terminated at a deep precipice that overlooked the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal and tracks.  My home was demolished in the blight removal downtown expansion era.  I was ashamed of my street name because we pronounced it Casket and I associated it with death.  No one ever taught me otherwise. Much later I learned that death comes equally to all of us and when it comes it makes all of us equal.  I also learned that my street was named after some of the most famous people in the world.  Alexander Cassatt was President of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  His sister was mary the American Impressionist Painter.  His father, Robert Simpson was Mayor of Allegheny, a municipality adjacent to Pittsburgh.  These revelations of my youth inspired me to title two of my television programs, "LIFTING THE VEIL."

  • Selected Publications:
  • Books