James Russell, PhD

Class of 1962
Inducted 2013


After graduating from Rogers in 1962, James Russell became active in the 1960s civil rights and antiwar movements. He participated in the 1964 Tulsa sit-ins and initiated a successful campaign that included basketball star Marques Haynes to integrate the Sand Springs public schools. In 1966 he became the first editor of New Left Notes, the national newspaper of Students for a Democratic

He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. In a career that has combined critical scholarship with social activism, he has taught at universities in the United States and as a Fulbright professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. In 2005 he was named University Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, the highest honor in the Connecticut State University system.

He is the author of eight books, including Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis; Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States; Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence; and After the Fifth Sun: Class and Race in North About Double Standard, Frances Fox Piven, president of the American Sociological Association wrote, This is a wonderful book—a sweeping portrait that helps us to understand the differences between the European and American welfare states and why these differences are so important.”

About Escape from Texas, Johns Hopkins historian Ben Vinson III wrote, “No novel has so astutely captured the mindset of black slaves and their complicated relationships with Mexico during the years leading up to the Mexican-American War.