Robert Trent Vinson Photo

Robert Trent Vinson, President
Professor of History & Africana Studies
William & Mary


Robert Trent Vinson is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of History and Africana Studies at William & Mary. He received his Ph.D. in African History from Howard University. Vinson has written The Americans are Coming!: The Dream of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (Ohio University Press, (2012) and Albert Luthuli: Mandela before Mandela (2018). Vinson is also the co-author of two additional books in preparation, Shaka’s Progeny: The Cultural Politics of Global Zulu Identities in the US and South Africa, and Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965.

Named a Professor of Teaching Excellence at William &Mary, Vinson teaches a range of courses in African history, African Diaspora studies and African-American history. Vinson also was the first director of the Lemon Project at William & Mary (2008-2010), a long-term research project named after Mr. Lemon, one of many enslaved blacks owned by William and Mary before the Civil War. The Lemon Project involves University faculty, staff and students as well as members of the Greater Williamsburg community.  The Project is actively meeting its objective to better understand, chronicle, and preserve the history of blacks at William & Mary and in the community and to promote a deeper understanding of the indebtedness of the University to the work and support of its diverse neighbors.


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