Sir Roy Augier (right), professor emeritus of History, The UWI, Mona symbolically accepts a copy of the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography from Franklin W Knight, emeritus professor at Johns Hopkins. Knight donated several copies of the dictionary to the Main Library in honour of Sir Roy, his former professor, at a recent function at the Mona Campus. Sharing in the occasion from left are Professor Matthew Smith, Head of the Department of History and Archaeology and Dr Paulette Kerr, Campus Librarian.

Photo by Shorná Thompson

A book a day…

Noted historian gives hundreds of books to his alma mater

FRANKLIN W KNIGHT, emeritus professor at Johns Hopkins University, has no reservations about supporting his alma mater, The UWI, Mona.
Knight who graduated from The UWI, Mona in 1964 with a degree in History, has continued to give back to the institution in various ways over the years.
In May, Knight made his latest donation of copies of the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography to the Main Library in honour of Sir Roy Augier, his former professor, who later became his lifelong friend. The handover was facilitated at a function organised by the Department of History and Archaeology and The UWI, Mona Library in the Multifunctional Room, Main Library.
The dictionary, edited by Knight and Henry Louis Gates Jr, contains more than 2,000 articles on people of African descent (as well as people who made an impact on the diaspora). It covers the colonial era to the present, and draws on all regions and countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.
Prior to this latest donation, Knight had given the library 1,634 books and theses, which Campus Librarian Dr Paulette Kerr said “were all relevant” texts.
“The number is now up to 1,640, and this is more than the equivalent of one book for each day I was a student at Mona— which was my original plan,” Knight told UWIMONA Now. But Knight did not stick to the plan. “When I reached the goal, I just kept on giving, and was happy to do so,” he explained.

And he apparently has no plans to stop giving back anytime soon.

“I have not yet made an inventory of the books I will give in the future,  but the next time I will certainly donate the six volume Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, edited by Colin A Palmer, also a  history graduate of Mona in 1964 (and one of its most distinguished graduates),” Knight said.

“Eventually, I will donate almost all the remaining volumes in my personal library to Mona. I should have an inventory of those books by the end of the summer,” he said.

Knight, who is known for his expertise in Latin American and Caribbean History, has served as president of The UWI Alumni Association branch in the Washington, DC area. The UWI also gave him an Honorary Doctorate in 2007. Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Cuba have also honoured him for his academic work. In 2013 the Institute of Jamaica awarded Knight The Gold Medal in Literature.

Knight, who was born in Manchester, attended Calabar High School before matriculating to The UWI, Mona. He did advanced degrees at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA. In 1968 Knight joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and in 1973 he moved to the History Department of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where in 1991 he was appointed the Leonard and Helen R Stulman Professor of History. 
His career has taken him around the world and he has held important positions in several international organisations and professional associations.