Reuben V. Burrell, the university photographer at Hampton University in Virginia for the past 65 years, died on February 3. He was 95 years old and went to work up to the day before he died.
Burrell started taking photographs at the 1949 commencement ceremonies at Hampton. Through the years he chronicled campus visits of Martin Luther King Jr., Duke Ellington, and Rosa Parks, among hundreds of others. The university is now preserving more than 20,000 film negatives from Burrell’s career at the university.
William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University, said that “Reuben Burrell was a true Hampton University legend. He captured the Hampton University spirit through his lens. His photographs and his stories were an inspiration. He touched the lives of many Hampton University administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends and visitors.”
Burell was a native of Washington, D.C. He held a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a master’s degree in industrial arts education from New York University.