Len Lempel, 2014
- Professor of History
- DSC employee since 1996
Degrees and schools where awarded: BA, University of Akron; MA & Ph.D., Syracuse University
Career/Professional honors: Currently president of the Florida Historical Society
Outside interests: reading, hiking, climate and meteorology
What did you do prior to joining Daytona State College? I was a professor at Bethune-Cookman University
What professional projects are you working on right now? I’m working with the Southeast Museum of Photography, developing a film series that will run during the fall 2014 semester commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I’m also project director for a Florida Humanities Council grant awarded to the Halifax Historical Society that will develop programs around the documentary film that I co-produced titled Hoppin’ Rattlesnakes: Oral Histories of Beach Racing in Volusia County, 1903-1958. In addition, I’m working with archaeologist Bruce Piatek to uncover more artifacts and information about the post-Civil War effort to establish a freedman’s colony in what is now Port Orange, and Freemanville, the black hamlet that traces its roots to that effort.
What has been the most rewarding thing about your Daytona State College experience? The opportunity to help students learn and grow as human beings. Also, to do what I enjoy and was educated to do: teach history and engage in historical research and writing. In addition, it’s been rewarding to associate with many wonderful faculty and staff at DSC.
What is one goal you still hope to achieve in your career? Write a book that details the role of African Americans in the development of Daytona Beach and surrounding communities.
In life? To help improve the lives of the people in my community and to preserve Florida’s and the local area’s history.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Choose a career that you enjoy doing.
One thing people are surprised to find out about me is: That I can be funny.
Last book read: Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson by Mark Elliot
If they could bottle your personality what would the label read? Calm and rational (most of the time).
Who are the four people in the history of the world you most admire? Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela
The Daytona State of Mind to me means seeking opportunity, knowledge and the prospect of a better life.