Dr. Fountain teaches courses in early American history, Southern history, Public history, and historical methods.
Fountain’s training and approach to history is interdisciplinary. In Slavery, Civil War, & Salvation: African American Slaves and Christianity, 1830-1870 he combined oral history, folklore, material culture, and quantitative evidence to produce a new interpretation of slave religious practices. In turn, he encourages his students to “go where the evidence takes you” and not shy away from offering an interpretation that conflicts with current understandings of the past. His work in Southern history has led to appearances on the History Channel’s North Carolina episode of “The States” and NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” where he helped actor Blair Underwood explore his ancestry.
As the director of the public history program Fountain is actively involved with state and local historical institutions. He has served as Chair of North Carolina’s Highway Historical Marker Program Committee, Chair and Director of the Historic Oak View County Park Advisory Board, as well as a member of the executive board of both the Carolina Charter Corporation and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. These roles enable him to place students in productive internships where they gain meaningful professional training and contacts. In collaboration with the Meredith College Archives, Fountain initiated the North Carolina Women’s Oral History Collection through which students conduct and preserve interviews of the women who have made our state what it is today. This oral history work contributed to Meredith College’s 2020 selection as a regional hub for the Legacies of American Slavery Initiative sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.
PhD. – Early American History to 1876, The University of Mississippi, 1999
M.A. – Public History, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1993
B.A.. – History, Stetson University, 1989
Angels in the City of Oaks: 125 Years of Meredith College History, City of Raleigh Museum, March 2016 (Co-curated with Meredith Haynes)
Slavery, Civil War & Salvation: African American Slaves and Christianity, 1830-1870. Louisiana State University Press, 2010.
“The Role of Baptist and Meredith College Leadership in White Supremacist Advocacy and Policy in Early 20th Century North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review, (Vol. 99, January 2022), 36-73.