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UNCA prof to receive Trailblazer award
Friday, 04 May 2018 15:28

From Staff Reports

UNC Asheville Professor of Political Science Dwight Mullen will be honored with a Trailblazer Award at the 2018 State of Black North Carolina Conference, during the May 10 award luncheon in the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.

Mullen will be honored along with Bishop Sheldon McCarter, pastor of The Greater Cleveland Avenue Church in Winston-Salem; state Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr.; and Elaine Riddick, executive director of The Rebecca Project for Justice.

“If there were a hall of fame for citizens in North Carolina who dedicated their lives to uplift humanity – our trailblazer award honorees would enter on the first ballot,” said Richard L. Williams, publisher of Black Business Ink magazine and the convener of the conference. “Their collective work takes a backseat to no one, irrespective of race or gender, and we’re extremely pleased to be honoring them on the 15th anniversary of Black Business Ink and the State of Black North Carolina Conference. Our honorees are the tip of the iceberg of African-Americans across North Carolina who are shining examples of trailblazers.”

Mullen was hired by UNCA in 1984 as part of the university’s effort to integrate its faculty. Over the decades that followed, he became an extremely popular professor, known for mentoring and inspiring students and his involvement with the community. In 2014, he was honored with the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Mullen also has led his UNCA students in an annual research project for more than a decade, "The State of Black Asheville," collecting and presenting an array of data on health, housing, income, education, employment and incarceration rates – cataloging the severe racial disparities in Asheville. 

He was invited to present his data last year at a meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and in the wake of that presentation, the commissioners voted unanimously to establish the new Isaac Coleman Community Investment Program, with $500,000 budgeted to support and expand existing community efforts to improve health, education and employment.

Dwight Mullen and his wife, Dolly Jenkins-Mullen, an associate professor of political science, each with more than three decades on the UNCA faculty, will retire from the university this spring.

For more information about the 2018 State of Black North Carolina Conference and the Trailblazer Award Luncheon, visit


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