Bonnie Thornton Dill

Bonnie Thornton Dill

By: Nyla

Bonnie Thornton Dill is the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, professor of Women’s Studies, and a scholar who studied and continues to study race, class, and gender intersectionality in the U.S with a focus on African American women, families, and work. Along with her other amazing qualities, she is also an author who has written numerous articles and books.

As a young girl, Bonnie was raised by her mother, an English teacher, father, a pharmacist in Englewood, Chicago. She attended University of Chicago Laboratory School where she called the experience,  “I lived in two worlds—a white intellectual world and a black social world.” For college, she attended the University of Rochester where she was among the first African Americans to live in one of their residence halls. Her stay at the university was in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement. She put her leadership skills in action and organized a chapter called Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee which helped to expand voting rights in the south. She ultimately switched her major from pre-med to English where she traveled to England to further her studies.

After she graduated from college, she moved to New York and worked for the Office of Economic Opportunity, an agency that is in charge of programs that work with President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. She said the experience helped her start thinking about the role of social class in America. Her research on domestic workers was completed in 1979 and was published in 1994. The groundbreaking book was entitled”Across the Boundaries of Race and Class: An Exploration of Work and Family Among Black Female Domestic Servants”.  It was one of the first books that studied black female household labor that was based on interviews of workers themselves.

Since her book, she has made many other life accomplishments and is now the dean of the University of Maryland’s department College of Arts and Humanities.

Bonnie Thornton Hill Timeline:

1965 - B.A. from New York University

1970 - M.A.

1979 - Ph.D and wrote first book

1994 - “Across the Boundaries of Race and Class: An Exploration of Work and Family Among Black Female Domestic Servants” was published

2009 - Appointed Stanley Kelley, Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University Award

2010-2012 - President of National Women’s Studies Association

Present - dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and professor of Women’s Studies.

These other events do not have a specific date but they are very important points in her life

  1. Chairwoman for Women Studies Department at University of Maryland for 8 years

  2. Created two intersectionality research centers

  3. Founding Director for Center of Research on Women at University of Memphis and Founding Director of the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland.

  4. Vice President of the American Sociological Association

  5. Chair of the Advisory Board of Scholars for Ms. Magazine

Creative Piece: