Office: Department of History
While at Southeast, Dr. George Suggs was an effective teacher and one of the most productive scholars in the department's history. Suggs grew up in Bladenboro, North Carolina, one of the many Southern cotton mill towns. In 1947, Suggs entered Wake Forest University, but that education was interrupted first by a stint at the William Township School System in Whiteville, North Carolina and then the Korean War. Following two years in the U.S. Air Force, he went on to earn a B.A. at the University of Colorado. After another six years as a High School teacher, Suggs returned to Colorado where he earned his M.A.. Suggs was awarded a John Hay Fellowship in the Humanities at Northwestern University in 1959-1960. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Colorado in 1964. In 1981, he was the recipient of the N.E.H. Resident Fellowship in the Humanities at Brown University. In the fall of 1993, Suggs accepted an invitation to teach in the Missouri London Program. This program allows faculty from Missouri to spend a semester in London instructing students from all over the state. While in England, Suggs taught British Constitutional History and a course on the American Revolution from the English perspective.
Though known as a gifted teacher in courses dealing with the American labor movement and Constitutional history, Suggs was first and foremost a researcher and writer. Two of his works, Colorado's War on Militant Unionism: James H. Peabody and the Western Federation of Miners (1972) and Union Busting in the Tri-State: The Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri Metal Worker's Strike, 1935-1943 (1986) are still standards. Suggs' resume lists five books written or edited, numerous articles in scholarly journals, presentations at conventions, and more than forty book reviews.
George and his wife Ginny have enjoyed a productive retirement. In the years since he stepped out of the classroom he has traveled extensively in England, continental Europe and the United States.
Since retirement he has continued to write, particularly about the North Carolina of his youth. Wayne State University Press published his "My World is Gone": Memories of Life in a Southern Cotton Mill Town, centering on the experiences of his father in the Bladenboro cotton mills, in May, 2002. He is also writing a series of short stories and novellas. Two, Shady Grove and Talkin' to the Dead and Other Carolina Stories have also been published. In 2000 Suggs shared some of those stories and research when he delivered the annual Dugger Lecture (" Cotton Mill Life: A Case Study").