Otis W. Pickett
Clemson University

Otis W. Pickett is a historian of religion in the U.S. South focusing on domestic missions to enslaved African American and Native American communities in South Carolina. His research focuses on nineteenth century missionaries and the intersection of race, religion, and ecclesiastical polity in southern Presbyterianism. Dr. Pickett is interested in the ways that church polity and governance was applied to whites, African Americans and Native Americans differently based on race, civil status, and property ownership. He also teases out the way that missionaries use their experiences working in slave mission churches to justify a Lost Cause ideology into the late 1870s, which would leave a tremendous legacy in southern Presbyterianism over the next century. Dr. Pickett has also served in the School of Education at the University of Mississippi preparing Social Studies teachers, he served as the Director of Social Studies Education Programs at Mississippi College and was an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History at Mississippi College. Dr. Pickett accepted a position at Clemson University as the third University Historian in the institution’s history in July of 2022. He serves in the Libraries as University Historian, Chair of the Department of Historic Properties and is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning at Clemson University. Finally, Dr. Pickett is passionate about higher education in prisons and is the co-founder and co-director of the Prison to College Pipeline Program, which is the first program in the state of Mississippi to offer tuition free, credit bearing college courses to incarcerated students Prison-to-College Pipeline Program | University of Mississippi (olemiss.edu) .

Otis is also the host of the Purpose That Prevails podcast.

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