Leith Mullings, a leading anthropologist who spent much of her career at the City University of New York, died on December 12. She was 75 years old and had suffered from cancer.
A native of Jamaica, Professor Mullings came to the United States at the age of 16 to study at Queens College of the City University of New York. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Cornell University. She went on to earn a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at the Univerity of Chicago.
Dr. Mullings began her academic career as a lecturer at Yale University. She was appointed an assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University in 1975 and was promoted to associate professor in 1981. Two years later, she joined the faculty at the City University of New York. There she eventually became a distinguished professor of anthropology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
Professor Mullings was the author or editor of several books including Therapy, Ideology and Social Change: Mental Healing in Urban Ghana (University of California Press, 1984) and On Our Own Terms: Race, Class and Gender in the Lives of African American Women (Routledge, 1996). Dr. Mullings was married to Manning Marable, who founded and directed the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. Professor Marable died in 2011. The couple collaborated on the edited volume Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal (Routledge, 2003.) At the time of her death, Dr. Mullings was working on a history of the African Burial Ground in New York City.
Dr. Mullings served on the executive boards of the American Ethnological Society and the American Anthropological Association. She was s president of the American Anthropological Association from 2011 to 2013.