Fred McGhee Ph.D.

McGhee Santa Rita.jpegI am founder and president of Fred L. McGhee & Associates, the only African-American and Disabled Veteran owned and operated archaeological and environmental consulting firm in the United States. The first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin, I have been active in the private sector since 2003 but have also taught at numerous colleges and universities over the years. In addition to conventional cultural resource management work, my historical archaeological research has focused on the African Diaspora experience in Texas, Germany, Tobago, and the Hawaiian Islands.

I am also an urban anthropologist and historian, with a long track record of scholar advocacy in public housing and for community based economic development. A 2014 candidate for the Austin City Council and a current member of the city’s Community Development Commission, I am the founder and board member of numerous non-profit organizations and am well known as a fierce anti-gentrification fighter and neighborhood empowerment activist. I am also a veteran of the United States Navy, where I served as an enlisted man and eventually rose through the ranks to become one of the first African American Special Operations officers in U.S. Navy history.

My educational background is as follows:

• B.S. in Linguistics from Northeastern University in Boston. I chose Northeastern because of its applied educational philosophy and cooperative education leadership. My focus was on American Sign Language and German, and I studied with Deaf Community icons such as Harlan Lane and Hartmut Teuber.

• M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. A true “five field” anthropologist (UT Austin also has a program in folklore), I completed base requirements for the Ph.D. in my first year. My dissertation was a pathbreaking interdisciplinary study of the Texas slave trade, one of the first written by an African-American.

• I also attended community college, various military schools, and am the holder of numerous professional credentials.

• Most importantly, I am also a graduate of the school of hard knocks. I am the first person in my family to attend college and graduate school. My mother had an 8th grade education and my father obtained his GED shortly after his 40th birthday.

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