In Memoriam: Rudolph P. Byrd (1953-2011)

Rudolph P. Byrd, a prominent black studies scholar at Emory University, has died of cancer. He was 58 years old.

Professor Byrd joined the Emory faculty in 1991. He was the Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies and founder of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Race and Difference.

Prior to his appointment at Emory in 1991, Byrd taught at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he was a member of the department of English and chair of the African and African-American studies program. He also taught in the English Department at the University of Delaware.

Professor Byrd was a graduate of Lewis & Clark College and completed graduate study at Yale University. He was the author or editor of 11 books and the founding co-chair of the Alice Walker Literary Society.

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  1. As a student at Emory, I had a chance to work with him and had no idea he was such a heavy hitter. Blessings to his spirit and loved ones.

  2. I,ve. never got the chance to meet this gentle spirit of a man.According to what I have read. Not only have I missed the chance to be in his presence to witness GOD’S blessings upon him, but I never got the chance to meet my Big brother. Rest in Peace DEAN 🙂

  3. I was one of his students at Carleton College. He was an amazing professor and human. Such a gentle spirit and truly care about his students. He was an important contributor to my decision to change my major to African/American-American Studies from Political Science.

    When he left, we were devastated. I’m glad I had the privilege of being his student and learning from his brilliant mind.

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