Jeffrey B. Ferguson, the Karen and Brian Conway ’80 Presidential Teaching Professor of Black Studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts, died on March 12. He was 53 years old and had suffered from cancer. Professor Ferguson was on medical leave this semester.
In a letter to the college community announcing Dr. Ferguson’s death, Amherst College President Biddy Martin wrote: “The courage, curiosity, and understanding with which he faced and discussed his illness amazed me. I was often buoyed by his evident love of life and the gratitude he felt for the life he had, for his family, his friends, and his work.”
Dr. Ferguson grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He held bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Amherst College and is credited with developing the Black studies curriculum at the college.
Professor Ferguson was the author of The Sage of Sugar Hill: George S. Schuyler and the Harlem Renaissance (Yale University Press, 2005). He also authored the The Harlem Renaissance: A Brief History With Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2007).