Tyran Kai Steward is a PhD candidate and 2012-2013 Presidential Fellow at The Ohio State University with expertise in the fields of African American History, Modern US History, and Women’s History. His primary advisor is Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries; Drs. Kevin Boyle and Judy Wu are his secondary advisors and serve on his dissertation committee. He will graduate August 2013.
Tyran’s work focuses on 20th Century race relations, particularly during the interwar period. His dissertation, “Jim Crow in the Big House: The Benching of Willis Ward and the Stand of Gerald Ford,” examines Jim Crow in the North via the interplay of race and sport. Specifically, it analyzes the 1934 benching of Willis Ward, an African-American football player at the University of Michigan and reveals how Northern institutions maintained segregationist practices without having the same legal sanctions that existed in the South. This project chronicles how racism toward Ward shaped the politics of his teammate and future President Gerald Ford. This study also probes how Ward’s benching affected his own career-related efforts to remedy racial discrimination as a lawyer, judge, and personnel director for Henry Ford.By probing the entrenched restrictions that African Americans encountered in the North, this dissertation provides a more comprehensive view of Jim Crow life in America.
Tyran has presented dissertation-related papers and other research projects at several academic conferences. He has also completed several noteworthy articles: “Scarcely Pink: Herbert Miller, Academic Freedom, and the Crucible of Race," which is currently under review; “From Selma to Stonewall: Gay Rights in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” to be published in Origins in August 2013; and “Time Not Ripe: Black Women’s Quest for Economic Citizenship and the Battle for Full Inclusion at Ohio State University” to be published in Ohio History in March 2014. Research related to the latter essay earned second place in the Humanities Division at the 25th Annual Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum (2011). In 2011, Tyran was featured in the documentary, “Black and Blue: Willis Ward, Gerald Ford, and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Game.” Produced by Emmy-nominated Stunt3 Media, and largely based on his own research, the documentary will air on PBS sometime in 2012 and is under consideration for an Academy Award (A link to the trailer is provided here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAxx5UzKqPA). In Spring 2012, Tyran was awarded the prestigious Presidential Fellowship, the highest honor awarded a graduate student at The Ohio State University, and also was named as both an Alternate and Honorable Mention for the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.
A New Orleans native, Tyran received a B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College in 2000, and earned his MA in History and a Graduate Certificate in African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2009 and 2010, respectively.