In Memoriam: Muriel Grey Feelings (1938-2011)

Muriel Feelings, award-winning author of children’s books and former director of the Pan African Studies Community Education Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, has died from cancer at the age of 73.

Feelings is best known for her children’s books, Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book and Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book. Both books were written in the 1970s and were illustrated by her then-husband, Thomas Feelings. The two books both won the Caldecott Honor given by the Association for Library Service to Children. Both books remain in print.

A native of Philadelphia, Feelings attended what is now the University of the Arts. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art at what is now California State University at Los Angeles.

Feelings then taught at public schools in Philadelphia and New York. She was in the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965 when Malcolm X was assassinated.

After two tours of Africa where she taught school in Uganda and Guyana, Feelings returned to Philadelphia. In 1980 she was appointed director of education at the city’s African-American Museum. In 1986 she was named director of the Temple University Community Education Program. She served in that position until 2001.

 

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