Alabama Not Just Football: 30 Amazing People Who Were Built By Bama

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William Thompson

William Thompson is a native of Baton Rouge, LA, a graduate of the University of Alabama, and a former chairman of the history department at Louisiana Tech University. During World War II, Thompson was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He served in Europe and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

When the war ended, Thompson remained in the Air Force Reserves and enrolled at the University of Alabama. He graduated with his BA in 1946. He continued his studies at Emory University and at the University of North Carolina.

Thompson became known as one of the foremost scholars of the American South. His first publication, Robert Toombs of Georgia, was based on the life of a prominent Confederate official before, during, and after the Civil War.

In 1980, he was named the association president of the Louisiana Historical Association. In his presidential address at their 1981 annual meeting, he presented a paper based on his upcoming book E.M. Graham: North Louisianan. Graham was never an especially famous man, and Thompson making him the star of a book opened the eyes of scholars to the importance of studying local figures and histories.

One major focus of Thompson’s research was the impact of the Civil War on individual soldiers. This was a revolutionary field, as it investigated the long-lasting individual effects on the war that had previously been lost or overlooked.

Thompson was named the chairman of the history department at Louisiana Tech in 1965, a position he held until his retirement in 1988. In 1982, he was named “Outstanding Professor of American History in Louisiana” by the Daughters of the American Revolution. An endowed scholarship at Louisiana Tech is named in his honor. He died in Louisiana in 2002.

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