Historical Hall of Fame: Edgar Allan Toppin, Sr. (1928 - 2004) was an African American professor of history, and an author who
specialized in Civil War, Reconstruction and African American history
Virginia History Series
Edgar Allan Toppin, Sr. (January 22, 1928 -December 8, 2004) was an African American professor of history, and an author who specialized
in Civil War, Reconstruction and African American history.
In 1964, Toppin began his teaching career at Virginia State University
(VSU). In the mid-1960s, he created, "Americans from Africa", an educational 30 lesson television course, that aired on Richmond's
public TV station and was later aired across the country.
From these, he wrote "Blacks in America," a 15-part series published
by the Christian Science Monitor. He wrote a total of 10 books during his career.
In 1966, Toppin was the first African American
member admitted to the Virginia Historical Society and in 1989, he became the first African American member of the board of trustees. Toppin served as President of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History from 1974–1976 and played an integral
role in turning Black History Week into Black History Month in February of 1976.
In 1979, Dr. Toppin was appointed Dean of the
Graduate School at Virginia State University. He also served as provost and vice president of academic affairs of the University from
1987 to 1989.
Dr. Toppin received the Virginia Outstanding College Faculty Award in 1995
Throughout his career, Dr. Toppin received many awards including the Outstanding College Faculty Award in 1995; and, he was named
"Distinguished Virginian" by Governor Holton. In 2003, he was named "distinguished professor emeritus" by the Virginia
Dr. Toppin is pictured at right with his daughter (a Music professor at UNC) and wife Antionette who was an English professor