Dr. Doris A. Derby
was Georgia State University’s (GSU) Founding Director of the Office of African American Student Services and Programs (OAASS&P) from 1990 to 2012, when she retired. She also held the title of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department and was the Minority Advising Program Officer, at GSU for the University System of Georgia.
At GSU, Dr. Derby designed a new department to provide co-curricular support for the Retention, Progression, and Graduation (RPG) of African American students. The RPG numbers increased dramatically during her tenure. Programs and services were created to promote dialogue, co-sponsorship and co-curricular involvement. Student leadership development activities resulted in the chartering of over 40 student organizations. The department held quarterly student organization meetings via the Student Leadership Routable and the OAASS&P Presidents’ Council. Academic support services included Tutoring, Academic Advising, Peer Advising, Mentoring, the Black Freshman Network, Black Sophomore Society and Black Junior achievers. Under her initiation and leadership, Departmental initiatives and collaborations resulted in cultural-historical ties between African, American, and Caribbean students i.e., Project Link to Africa, Model African Union, African Dance and Drum Summit, the African American Heritage Awards’Annual Program, African Diaspora Video-Film Series, Cote d’Ivoire Week in Atlanta, the Annual Tribute to Achievement, VISACUD African-African American cultural student exchange, and Town Hall meetings on Africa.
Dr. Doris A. Derby is an education administrator, anthropologist, artist, photographer and filmmaker. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural/Social Anthropology and Elementary Education from Hunter College/ New York City, a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, with a focus on African culture in the Americas, from the University of Illinois/Urbana and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Cultural/Social Anthropology with a concentration in African American Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign.
Doris Derby has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, presented lectures and workshops, and received numerous awards. She has worked with statewide, national, local community and volunteer organization and held offices in professional organizations, such as the Atlanta Chapter of the Links, Inc., the NAACP, the Coalition of 100 Black Women, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., the American Association of University Administrators, the National Association of Student Personnel Administration and Sistagraphy, a collective of African- American women photographers, in Atlanta. She is a veteran of the southern Civil Rights Movement in Georgia and Mississippi during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and is known for her humanitarian work.
In addition to her academic and community accomplishments, she is a nationally known documentary photographer, producer of Readers’ theater and other artistic initiatives. Exhibits of her photographic works have been held in numerous juried art shows, universities, and galleries in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Her works were exhibited at the High Museum in Atlanta, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Skirball Museum in L.A., the Bronx Museum, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, in the AJC, the New York Times, and on the Jim Lehrer News Hour. Her photographs reflect the leaders and grassroots activities of the brave men and women who defied segregation laws during the Civil Rights era, which changed the face of America. She has especially documented the many roles that women have played in the Civil Rights movement.
Doris Derby has participated in the 1960s/1970s production of documentary films by Southern Media, Inc., i.e. Grand Marie is Ours and Poverty in Mississippi. She Co-produced the film, Mississippi Inferno: Seeds of Revolt (part 1), Deeds of Defiance (part 2) which was produced by Thunk It Productions, Ltd. In association with Mentorn Media Smithsonian Channel and aired through the Smithsonian Channel. She worked under David Shulman, the Executive Producer/Director of the film. In June, 2016 the film received the 9th Annual Television Academy Honors. The film also titled, “Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi.” in an expanded version, was screened as such at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, February, 2016. Doris Derby is also a Consulting Producer of a documentary film on the Free Southern Theater and Junebug Productions, being produced by Jason Foster. Her historical photos comprise an important component of the documentary film, work in progress, entitled, “Wednesdays in Mississippi”, under the direction of Producer Marlene Mc Curtis.
Public Art is another area that Dr. Doris Derby has her historic images on display. In April of 2016, two of her iconic photographs were used for the content of a mural, by artist Charmaine Minniefield, in the Historic King District of Edgewood Street, in Atlanta, Georgia. Earlier this year, 2017, Derby’s photographic images just became part of the Freedom Path Public Art Project, under the direction of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, of the City of Atlanta. The goal was to beautify and enhance a section of Freedom Park, which passes through Atlanta’s historic Civil Rights District, with visual art and to document and celebrate the contributions of women in the Civil Rights Movement.
Gabriela Watson Aurazo (Baobab Flower's Film director) and Dr. Derby at the Black Women Film Network Luncheon, Atlanta, GA, 2014.