Henry Blackwell, the first African American faculty member in the English department at Boston College, died earlier this fall in Savannah, Georgia, of complications from a stroke and diabetes. He was 76 years old. Dr. Blackwell joined the Boston College faculty in 1980. Five years ago, police found Dr. Blackwell in diabetic shock at his home in Framingham, Massachusetts, after he had missed classes for two days.
Dr. Blackwell was a native of Baltimore. He enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., at the age of 15. He drove a taxi and took night classes at Morgan State University, where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree. He was then granted a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship to study at the University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D.