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William G. Pickens papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0134

Scope and Contents

The William G. Pickens Collection spans the years between 1976 and 2010. This small collection provides a glimpse into some of Dr. Pickens contributions to the field of English. Included are programs of annual events and workshops, photographs, audio cassettes and scrapbooks. Of particular note are photographs and scrapbooks documenting the Mirror Grant Project at Morehouse College and a news article depicting Dr. Pickens and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s experience working tobacco farms in Hartford, Connecticut. In addition, there is also an artistic rendition sculpture of Dr. King.


  • Creation: 1976-2010


Rights Statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Biographical note

Dr. William Garfield Pickens (1927-1998) was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1927 at Grady Hospital. His parents were Mr. William Pickens and Mrs. Eula Resse Pickens. He attended David T. Howard Elementary School and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. After finishing high school, he attended Morehouse College where he received his Bachelor’s degree in English and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1948, and he was later inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. With a major in English, he continued his education at Atlanta University and received a master’s degree in English in 1950. In 1969, he obtained his Ph.D. in English and Linguistics from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. After returning to Atlanta in 1970, Dr. Pickens joined the Morehouse College faculty as professor of English. Pickens was a member of the Morehouse College English Department for nearly 30 years where he served as Chair of the department from 1970 until 1984.

On August 22, 1950, Dr. Pickens father married Theresa Smith, a Hartford native and a member of the Class of 1949 of Spelman College, at A.M.E. Zion Church in Hartford, CT. They had three children – Leslie Rochelle Pickens, Reese Pickens, and Peter Todd Pickens. Dr. Pickens married Ernestine McCoy in 1977. Mrs. Pickens was an English professor at Clark College. Pickens and his wife, Ernestine McCoy Pickens-Glass, also co-founded the Charles W. Chesnutt Association.

During his academic career, he received several grant awards that buoyed Morehouse programs and professional research alike. These included a National Endowment for Humanities Grant (1973), which funded, over the course of three years, an interdisciplinary Humanities Program and a UNCF Research Grant in Humanities (1981), which allowed him to study linguistic patterns of southern black college students. Pickens was also a college friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, and he traveled with King and others to work on tobacco fields in Connecticut during summer breaks while at Morehouse.


1.25 Linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into three series: Professional papers, Audio/Visual materials, and Scrapbooks.

William G. Pickens papers, 1976-2010
Finding aid prepared by Ephranette Brown and Stacy Jones, 2016 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


404-978-2109 (Fax)