Huntington, WV Black History

Burnis R. Morris


Burnis R. Morris is the Carter G. Woodson Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in journalish from the University of Mississippi in 1973 and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Dayton in 1977. He joined the faculty at Marshall University in 2003.

Morris is known nationally for his work advising and training professional journalists who cover philanthropy and tax-exempt issues. He has authored two books suggesting methods for such coverage.

His work also has become closely associated with Dr. Garter G. Woodson, known to many as the “Father of Black History.” With Dr. Alan Gould in 2016, Morris co-founded the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum, a program created through the Drinko Academy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Morris now serves as the program’s director.

Morris has conducted research into Woodson’s use of the press to promote Black history. In recognition of his research, Morris has received several honors, including being named Marshall University’s 2011-2012 Distinguished John Deaver Drinko Academy Fellow, Emory University’s Carter G. Woodson Fellow (summer 2012) and a 2011-2012 West Virginia Humanities Council Fellow. He has presented papers on Woodson at meetings of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, an organization founded by Woodson in 1915.

The University Press of Mississippi published the hard copy of Morris’ book, titled “Carter G. Woodson: History, the Black Press and Public Relations,” in 2017, and the paperback in 2018. He now is engaged in additional research involving Woodson’s broader influence over Black lives during the 20th Century. He was named a John Marshall Summer Scholar for 2018 and accepted an invitation to share his Woodson findings in a public history project for an upcoming Amherst University Press peer-reviewed publication.

Morris has been awarded two major grants from the West Virginia Humanities Council to create Black history institutes for schoolteachers in 2017 and 2019.

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