Julia Miller, the former director of the Black Studies Center at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, died this past spring from complications of COVID-19. She was 92 years old.
After graduating from a Brooklyn high school at the age of 16, Miller enrolled at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York System. There, she was mentored by Shirley Chisholm, who later became the first Black woman elected to Congress. Years later, Miller worked on Chisholm’s history-making campaign as the first African American to seek a major party bid for president of the United States. Dr. Miller later earned a master’s degree at Seton Hall and an educational doctorate at Rutgers University in New Jersey
In 1970 Seton Hall University established the Black Studies Center. Dr. Miller was the founding associate director. Within two years she became the director. The center was a semi-autonomous academic and research center devoted to the liberation of people of African descent.
After Dr. Miller Left the university in 1984, she was asked to return as a consultant to design a university-wide component for students to do volunteer work, similar to what was done within the Black Studies Center in local urban communities. That initiative is now called D.O.V.E., the Division of Volunteer Efforts.
In 1989, Dr. Miller left Seton Hall when she received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at Wu Han University in China. Returning to the United States in 1990, she served for eight years as state director of the nonprofit organization Communities in Schools.