Professor of History
Northern Virginia Community College
Charles P. Poland, Jr. is Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College’s (NVCC) Annandale Campus, where he teaches history and has been a member of the faculty since 1967. His teaching career spans more than five decades, touching the lives of thousands of students and community members in Northern Virginia. He has appeared on television and radio and made countless presentations to historic, civic, and educational groups on the Civil War and on the impact of unfettered development in Northern Virginia.
Dr. Poland has received awards for teaching excellence, including the “Most Outstanding Faculty Member” and the NVCC Alumni Federation Faculty of the Year.
A scholar of the American Civil War, he promotes direct engagement with history and its tools. Since 1977, Dr. Poland has conducted a celebrated field-trip course to major and minor battlefields of the Civil War. He has traveled more than 120,000 miles to battlefields from Alexandria, Virginia, to the Ohio River and from Gettysburg to Appomattox, giving hundreds of on-site lectures to students varying in age from teenagers to senior citizens. He is the creator of a mobile Civil War Museum, now installed at Northern Virginia Community College, with hundreds of artifacts and documents that he has toured to public schools across the region.
Dr. Poland is the author of seven books. These cover a variety of historical subjects, including using county history as a microcosm of American history in an attempt to legitimize local history as a professional field of study while calling attention to the consequences of indiscriminate transformation of fertile farmland into subdivisions. He also uses local and regional history to explore a central theme in our nation’s domestic history, the shift from the farm to the city. The Civil War is at the other end of the spectrum of his writing. Special emphasis is placed on little-known military activities and now-forgotten heroes who dominated public opinion in 1861. Dr. Poland’s writing reveals citizen-soldiers’ romanticized expectations of glory and the cruel realities of war.
Dr. Poland received a B.A and M.A. from The American niversity, and a Ph.D. from Western Colorado University.View Nomination Packet
"My family lived off the land of our ancestors, where I cultivated crops, cared for livestock, and worked on my father’s large poultry farm… At the age of 12, my interest in history was sparked when our minister gave me a biography of Abraham Lincoln. I was impressed that despite his humble origins and lack of formal education, Lincoln achieved greatness."