Charles F. Irons, Professor of History and the Chair of the Department of History and Geography, talks about the three encounters that were so transformative that they make him cry to this day.
Professor Irons teaches courses on slavery, the Civil War, American religious history, and the nineteenth-century South, and his research is on the interplay between race and religion in the American South. In “Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia” (UNC Press, 2008), for instance, he charted the ways in which white evangelicals continuously modified their defense of slavery in response to the spiritual initiatives of their black coreligionists. His current research is on the complicated process through which black churchgoers withdrew from white-controlled congregations following the Cilvil War. Irons makes his home in Durham, with his wife Dana and their three children: Caroline (11), Caleb (8), and Jack (5). He is grateful for many things, including the chance to do meaningful work, the life and witness of Francis of Assisi, good friends, and F3 (the early morning workout group through which he is successfully navigating his midlife crisis).