Terry H. Anderson

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Terry Howard Anderson​

(American historian and professor at Texas A&M University)​

Born December 8, 1946​

Bryan, Texas, USA​
Howard E. and Emily K. Anderson​
Alma mater:
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
Indiana University

Political Party Democrat

Terry Howard Anderson (born December 8, 1946) is a professor of recent United States history at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and the author of The Pursuit of Fairness: A History of Affirmative Action.[1]


Anderson is the son of Howard Everett Anderson (born c. 1916) and the former Emily Kneip (born c. 1918), formerly of Duluth and Silver Bay, Minnesota, who since resided in Texas.[2] Terry Anderson served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, probably from 1965 to 1967, though biographical sketches about Anderson do not give the years of his military service. In 1971, he received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In 1973, he obtained the Master of Arts in history from the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri.[3]

In 1978, Anderson procured his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, at which he was the assistant oral historian. In 1979, he joined the TAMU history faculty. In the 2001-02 academic year, he taught in Dublin, Ireland, on a J. William Fulbright Scholarship through the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg], Virginia, an institution named for the mother of George Washington. Similarly, from 199 to 1995, Anderson was a Fulbright professor at the Institute of American Studies at Northeast Normal University in Changchu, China. In 1991, he taught in a TAMU program in Koriyama, Japan. In the 1978-1979 academic year, Anderson was an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.[3]​ ​

Affirmative action study

The term affirmative action was coined in 1965 by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to offer minorities special consideration and outreach in employment and education. Anderson, however, in his 2004 work The Pursuit of Fairness, traces the concept of affirmative action back to the era of legal segregation in the United States, during which African Americans rebelled at being compelled to pay taxes to support public facilities otherwise closed to their use. After being granted civil rights, many of the minorities found the hurdles so high to secure a foothold in education and employment that they favored an approach to compensate them for past discrimination. As time passed, those seeking affirmative action consideration were born long after segregation had been abolished and created what the critics of the program called "reverse discrimination." Anderson contends that he offers a balanced approach to the subject and avoids excessive legalese and statistics. In his preface, Anderson says that he, a blonde white male, has not been adversely impacted by affirmative action in his own education and employment. "I have no ax to grind, no agenda, just a fascination at how this contentious policy developed and changed over the years."[1]​ Affirmative action has since claimed a need for reparations to Americans descended from slaves.

A reviewer, Timothy J. O'Neill of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, says that while the account "lacks the theoretical insights of other affirmative action treatments such as Peter H. Schuck’s 'Diversity in America,' Anderson compensates for this by telling a quick and readable story to a popular audience who often knows little about the history of equal rights, the women’s movement, the Great Society, let alone the history of affirmative action."[4]​ ​

Other works

​ In 2011, Oxford University Press published Anderson's Bush's War: Iraq,, referring to the war on terrorism waged by former U.S. President George W. Bush. Anderson is a longtime critic of the Bush administration and the Axis of Evil claim made against Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Himself a Democrat,[5] Anderson voiced opposition to the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state in Bush's second term. In a public forum in November 2004, Anderson expressed pessimism about the ongoing war in Iraq: "Bush's war has devoured the army and American policy. The war has divided America and will drag on for years." he predicted.[6]

Anderson's The Movement and the Sixties was released by Oxford in 1995 and in e-book form in 2001 under the shortened title, The Sixties. Anderson traces the 1960s protest movement from the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina to the Native American activists taking the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, hostage. Between those events, thirteen years apart, were the freedom rides,the "free speech" protests at the University of California at Berkeley, the Selma to Montgomery march of 1965, the agitation against the Vietnam War, calls for black power, the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the hippies, and feminist rebellions. Anderson examines why so many became activists and took to the streets to make themselves heard by the otherwise "silent generation."[7]

With Charles R. Bond, Jr., a member of General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers and thereafter a major general in the United States Air Force, Anderson in 1984 co-authored A Flying Tiger's Diary, published by the TAMU Press and in its eighth printing by 2001. The book, the first published diary of a Flying Tigers pilot, stems from Anderson's oral history project, "From Aggies to Generals."[8] That same year,Anderson wrote A Guide to the Oral History Collection of Texas A&M University, based on his tenure from 1979–1988 as the university's oral historian.[3] The first project on his plate was "Aggies to Generals," in which he interviewed TAMU graduates who served in World War II and became officers.[1] Another collection is The History of Engineering at Texas A&M University, written with student assistance and consisting of personal interviews with active and retired engineering professors.[3]

Still another Anderson work is The United States, Great Britain, and the Cold War, 1944-1947, published in 1981 by the University of Missouri Press. Anderson has published two articles in South Central Review, including "The Strange Career of Affirmative Action" (2005) and "1968: The End and the Beginning in the United States and Western Europe" (1999–2000). In 1986, he published "American Popular Music and the War in Vietnam," in the journal Peace and Change in a special edition on American culture and the Vietnam War. He applied his knowledge of psychology and history in the 1978 article, "Becoming Sane with Psychohistory" in The Historian. Anderson has also written more than fifty book reviews in scholarly and popular journals.[3]

Anderson has appeared on national, state, and regional television and in many newspapers in interviews about the topics of his historical writing. In February 2002, for instance, he discussed the 1960s in the program "Power of Ideas" on Oklahoma Public Television. Earlier, in 2000, he appeared on "The Evening Talk Show" on KERA-TV in Dallas to discuss the Vietnam War, a quarter century after the conflict ceased.[3]

Anderson has won various faculty awards and is a 2010 Cornerstone Faculty Fellow at TAMU. He resides in Bryan.​ ​


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Terry H. Anderson (2004). The pursuit of fairness: a history of affirmative action. Oxford (New York) University. ISBN 9780195182453. Retrieved on October 15, 2019. 
  2. U.S. Search: Be Informed, Internet site
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Terry H. Anderson. tamu.edu. Retrieved on October 12, 2010; no longer on-line.
  4. Review by Timothy J. O'Neill of Terry H. Anderson, The Pursuit of Fairness: A History of Affirmative Action. bsos.umd.edu (January 2005). Retrieved on October 13, 2010; no longer on-line.
  5. Confirmed in 2010 by the Brazos County voter registrar, Anderson voted in the 2008 Democratic primary in Texas.
  6. DeAnna Janes (November 17, 2004). Prof: Axis of Evil overstated by Bush. Texas A&M University The Battalion. Retrieved on October 13, 2010; no longer on-line.
  7. Terry H. Anderson. The Movement and the Sixties. Oxford University Press (New York). Retrieved on October 13, 2010; no longer on-line. 
  8. Charles R. Bond, Jr., and Terry H. Anderson (1984, ISBN 0-89096-408-4). A Flying Tiger's Diary. Texas A&M University Press. Retrieved on October 21, 2010.