In Memorim: Leedell Wallace Neyland, 1921-2020

Leedell Neyland, former dean of Arts and Sciences, provost, and professor emeritus of history at Florida A&M University, died on June 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 98 years old.

A native of Gloster, Mississippi, Neyland served for six years as a messman/steward in the U.S. Navy. He received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University in 1949 and went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from New York University.

Before joining the faculty at Florida A&M University, Dr. Neyland was an associate professor at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He also served as dean of the college at Leland College in Baker, Louisiana, and Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina.

Professor Neyland was the author of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University: A Centennial History (Florida A&M University Foundation, 1987).

An oral history concerning Dr. Neyland’s service in the Navy is housed in the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. It may be accessed here.

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  1. My condolences to the Neyland family. He also played a role in FAMU’s continuing autonomy:

    …The Florida Legislature was talking merger — not sometime in the future, but soon as possible. The FAMU College of Law was already doomed with written orders not to accept any new students and its law books being moved to the new law school at Florida State University.

    FAMU President George W. Gore, Jr., decided the university was not going down without a fight. He called a meeting of the Faculty Senate and encouraged members to go on the offensive.

    Following the meeting, the FAMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, led by then chapter president Howard Lewis and past president Leedell Neyland, prepared a resolution demanding that FAMU must remain a separate and autonomous university within the State University System…

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