In Memoriam: Roy Simon Bryce-Laporte, 1933-2012

Roy S. Bryce-Laporte, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Emeritus at Colgate University, died late last month in Upper Marlborough, Maryland, after a long illness. He was 78 years old.

Bryce-Laporte was born in Panama City, Panama, to parents of West Indian ancestry. After earning an associate’s degree at Panama Canal College, he moved to the United States and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Nebraska. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Bryce-Laporte focused his research on Black immigrants to the United States, a path he himself had followed and compared their experiences with those of African Americans. He was the editor of Sourcebook on the New Immigration (Transaction Publishers, 1979).

Professor Bryce-Laporte taught at Hunter College before being appointed in 1969 as the first director of the African-American studies program at Yale University. There, one of his students was Henry Louis Gates Jr. He left Yale in 1972 and taught at several institutions including Syracuse University, the College of Staten Island, Howard University, Catholic University of America, the University of Pennsylvania, and Colorado College. Dr. Bryce-Laporte was the founding director of the Institute of Immigration and Ethnic Studies at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Professor Bryce-Laporte joined the faculty at Colgate in 1989 and directed the university’s Africana and Latin American studies program.

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