Bryant C. Freeman is credited chiefly as founder of the University of Kansas' Institute of Haitian Studies and often termed one of world's foremost Haiti scholars.
LAWRENCE, KS, September 06, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Bryant C. Freeman, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Freeman celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Born 26 June 1931 in Richmond, Virginia, Bryant C. Freeman is credited chiefly as founder of the University of Kansas' Institute of Haitian Studies and often termed one of world's foremost Haiti scholars. His career began, however, in music. Still a teenager, he was appointed 1st oboe in the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (its youngest member by at least twenty years), with guest appearances with the Virginia State Symphony, All-South Symphony, etc. And much later in life played contrabassoon for many years with the Lawrence Symphony. But already in high school - a winner in the National French Contest - his steady ambition was to become a university professor of French.
From the University of Virginia in 1953 Freeman received a B.A. With Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in French - with junior year spent in France and summers at Middlebury College French School. In 1954 he received an M.A. from Yale University, thanks to a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, followed by Yale Fellowships. With successive Fulbright Scholarships 1959-1961, he was the first of two Americans (Yale and Harvard) admitted to France's prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, while also taking courses at the Sorbonne. In 1961 he received a Ph.D. in French Language and Literature from Yale, with a dissertation on Jean Racine.
Freeman's teaching career began first as Instructor in French at Yale (1955-59), then at the University of Virginia as Assistant Professor of French (1961-66) and as Associate Professor of French with life tenure (1966-71). He served as president of the Modern Foreign Language Association of Virginia, and also directed the National French Contest for the state. And while teaching at the University of Virginia in the tumultuous 1960's, he was active in the civil rights movement, served as Chair of the University's Council on Human Rights, and was privileged to host Dr. Martin Luther King.
In 1971 he was appointed Full Professor of French (1971-2007) and Chair of the Department of French & Italian (1971-1976) at the University of Kansas, then ranked one of the foremost Ph.D.-granting French departments in the US. He served two terms as president of the North-American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, president of the Kansas chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French, and was on the Modern Language Association of America Commission for evaluating doctoral degree programs in French.
Early on, however, in December 1958 he spent a life-changing month as a tourist in Haiti. Later, spending much time in Haiti, he completed an intensive Haitian-language course at the Institut Haïtien-Américain in Port-au-Prince, and visited all parts of the country, including its off-shore islands.
Since the age of 18 an inveterate world traveler (85 countries), his first course on Haitian language and culture emerged in 1978 from his course on "La Francophonie." More especially, his large lecture course in English on Third-World conditions, "Portrait of a Third-World Nation: Haiti," later led to full-time teaching of Haitian history, culture and language, under the aegis of KU's Department of African and African-American Studies and its Center of Latin American Studies. With ever-increasing activity and generous grants, in 1992 the program officially evolved into the Institute of Haitian Studies, with Freeman as its Founder and first Director, and receiving special commendation from the Kansas Board of Regents.
His earliest major publication was in 1968: a two-volume, 1,513-page Concordance du Théâtre et des Poésies de Jean Racine (Cornell University Press). His chief publications in Haitian studies are a six-volume, 2,141-page Haitian-English English-Haitian Dictionary (introduced by a formal reception at the US Embassy in Haiti); an 18-volume edition of the complete works of leading Haitian-language novelist Carrié Paultre; and a Konkòdans Bib la (1,550 pages) with Jim Ross.
Over the course of some twenty years, to help preserve the true, age-old culture of a largely illiterate population, Freeman recorded Haiti's distinctive oral literature: its folktales, and its proverbs. The first resulted in Ann Bay Lodyans, 147 folktales printed in 16 inexpensive booklets easily available to the average Haitian, later republished in two volumes. His collection of some 3,000 proverbs is now being prepared for publication with one of his former students, Kiran Jayaram, Ph.D.
Thanks chiefly to prolonged work as an observer at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and nine other rural hospitals was his three-volume Medicine in Haiti, consisting of a Haitian-English English-Haitian medical dictionary, a medical phrase book, and Third-World Folk Beliefs and Practices: Haitian Medical Anthropology.
Among his other publications are Survival Creole (with editions in French, Spanish, and German); Ti Koze Kreyòl: A Haitian-Creole Conversation Manual; Chita Pa Bay: Elementary Readings in Haitian Creole; Haitian Creole for Peace Support; and Dictionnaire Inverse de la Langue Créole Haïtienne. With Pierre Vernet, Director of the University of Haiti's Centre de Linguistique Appliquée, are Diksyonè Òtograf Kreyòl Ayisyen (thanks to a USAID grant, and now used by teachers in the schools of Haiti), and Dictionnaire Préliminaire des Fréquences de la Langue Créole Haïtienne. Plus annotated editions of James Leyburn's The Haitian People, and what is regarded as Haiti's most outstanding drama, Frank Etienne's Pèlentèt.
In addition Freeman edited the Institute's 29 Occasional Papers, which include his Critical Bibliography of English-Language Books on Haiti, and original editions of Samuel Perkins' Sketches of Saint- Domingue 1785-1793, Organizational Charts of the Haitian Judiciary and Military, Dosye Chèf Seksyon, and most notably Si m pa Rele – the 861-page report by Haiti's Commission Nationale de Vérité et de Justice listing the known victims of the 1991-1994 Cédras regime.
Frequently on leave from the University of Kansas especially during the 1980's through 1998, Freeman worked in Haiti alternately as trainer for UN/OAS Human Rights Observers; advisor with protocol rank of Major General for combined US/UN Peace-Keeping Forces; UN/OAS spokesperson in both French and Haitian on Haitian radio and TV; official observer for several presidential elections; consultant for four US Ambassadors to Haiti; numerous articles in English, French and Haitian; frequently interviewed on US and Canadian radio and TV; advisor/interpreter for Associated Press; interpreter for numerous medical missions; on US Dept. of Justice team preparing examinations for prospective US Federal Court Haitian-language interpreters; frequent lecturer for NGO's; interim director of an orphanage; advisor/interpreter for a Pax Christi Human Rights Mission; and instructor for successive groups of US Peace Corps volunteers. He was one of few foreigners admitted to the sudden swearing-in of President Pascal-Trouillot, and was especially honored to have been one of only two foreigners invited to a final reception at President Aristide's private residence before his exile.
He also served at the US Naval Base, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, interviewing Haitian refugees (14 hours a day, 7 days a week), and as instructor at Fort Leavenworth US Army Command and General Staff College. Usually under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities he gave well over 100 lectures on Haiti or on Haitian Voodoo for university and civic groups, was invited to lecture at the World Peace Foundation Conference (Mayagüez, Puerto Rico), and at Oxford University (UK). He served as Scholar-in-Residence at several US colleges, in court as expert witness, and was consultant at Indiana University's Creole Studies Institute.
In 2007 named Professor Emeritus of French and Director Emeritus of the Institute of Haitian Studies, he began careers in investment as well as in his lifelong love of dogs. In early adult years Clumber Spaniels had become a center of his life. While at the University of Virginia he organized a course on "Canines," and founded the Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club, serving as its first president. In 1972 he was a founding member of the Clumber Spaniel Club of America, Inc., served two terms as its president, served on the five-person committee to revise the breed's Standard, and has now long been its official Delegate to the American Kennel Club. Since 2010 he has been the Clumber Spaniel columnist for the world's leading canine magazine, the AKC Gazette. As the breed's official historian he has published nine books on Clumbers, chiefly Clumber People, Kennels, and Nationals, and the two-volume Clumber Talk! Half Century of Clumber Spaniel Columns: 1969-2019. In preparation is The Clumber Spaniel in History and in Art.
Major awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Haitian People (July 1997), a U.S. Dept. of Justice Commissioner's Special Service Award, Kansas Humanities Council Award, Kansas French Educator of the Year, and was recognized by having a room named after him in Port-au-Prince's historic Hôtel Oloffson. In October 2018 he was honored at a large University of Kansas ceremony featuring a film on his work by leading scholars of Haitian studies, and a memorial plaque.
Life Member: Modern Language Association of America, American Association of Teachers of French, Clumber Spaniel Club of America, and Lawrence-Jayhawk Kennel Club. Board member and lecturer: Haitian Studies Association, Société Internationale des Etudes Créoles, and Society for Caribbean Linguistics. Member: International Double Reed Society.
He is proud to be husband of the well-known abstract painter Stephanie Lynn Freeman, father of an early pioneer of yahoo.com Timothy Oliver Freeman, and grandfather of Henrik Freeman.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Dr. Freeman has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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