Brief Biography

Fred L. McGhee is a maritime archaeologist and historical anthropologist whose area of expertise encompasses the maritime dimension of the African Diaspora, particularly the role of both African and African-American slave trading in the conquest and colonization of the Americas. He is the author of The Black Crop: Slavery and Slave Trading in Nineteenth Century Texas  an interdisciplinary investigation which is the first major academic study of both African and African-American slave trading in the Lone Star State during this important time period told from an African-American and materialist perspective.

Dr. McGhee is also an urban anthropologist and is a leading scholar-activist on public housing and community development issues, particularly as they intersect with historic preservation.  An employee of the Austin Housing Authority in the mid nineties, he also served as the last Mike Hogg Fellow with the Urban Issues Program at the University of Texas at Austin where he helped create the university's undergraduate degree program in Urban Studies as well as the doctoral portfolio in Urban Studies.

A native of Karlsruhe in the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. McGhee received a B.S. degree in Linguistics (with a focus on American Sign Language and German) from Northeastern University in Boston, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. He also attended Norwich University in Vermont, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (formerly known as Fachhochschule Karlsruhe) in his hometown, and Asnuntuck Community College in his American hometown of Enfield, CT. 
Dr. McGhee's military career began in 1984 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. A graduate of the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program, he is one of the first African-American naval officers to become a Navy Deep Sea Diver.  While serving on active duty McGhee served as an afloat Environmental Protection Officer as well as HAZMAT Coordinator, and decommissioned as well as precommissioned two U.S. Navy warships, authoring all environmental policy guidance and procedures from oil spill response to diving operations.

Between 2001 and 2003 Dr. McGhee served as the Chief Archaeologist for the U.S. Air Force in Hawaii, based at Hickam Air Force Base and managed nationally significant historic resources related to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as sensitive Native Hawaiian sites.  Hickam received the 2004 Secretary of Defense Annual Environmental Award as having the best cultural resource management program in the Department of Defense.

Dr. McGhee is affiliated with numerous professional organizations, including the Society for Applied Anthropology, the World Archaeological Congress, the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology (Life Member), the Council of Texas Archaeologists, and the National Maritime Historical Society. He has taught anthropology, archaeology, and sociology at various colleges and universities including the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Houston, Huston-Tillotson University, Hawaii Pacific University, Park University, and at Central Texas College.

Dr. McGhee is extensively credentialed, with training and certification in everything from basic safety (e.g. HAZWOPER, CPR, Healthcare Provider level First Aid, Oxygen Administration) to Environmental Justice principles in NEPA documentation, to geographic data collection and interpretation (Trimble GPS operator and ArcGIS) as well as scientific diving (University of Hawai'i Scientific Diving Program, Nautical Archaeology Society).

As a general contractor, building performance expert, and sustainability consultant, Dr. McGhee has also earned credentials from organizations such as the Building Performance Institute, the American Rainwater Catchment Association, the U.S. Greenbuilding Council, and other organizations.

University of Texas at Austin
Northeastern University
Norwich University
Asnuntuck Community College


"Sine Labore Nihil" (nothing without work)


Karlsruhe, Germany
Enfield, Connecticut
Austin, Texas
Aiea, Hawaii


The Black Crop:  Slavery and Slave Trading in Nineteenth Century Texas
Austin's Montopolis Neighborhood
Two Texas Race Riots
The Official Guide to PC/AT-Speed