In Memoriam: Charles Lyman James, 1934-2022

Charles Lyman “Chuck” James, the Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Swarthmore College, has died. Professor James was 87 years old. Professor James was the college’s first Black tenured faculty member, as well as the first Black department chair and division chair.

James was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, amidst the Great Depression. After high school, he enlisted and served two years in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of sergeant. In 1960, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., officiated at his wedding. The following year, James earned a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Throughout the 1960s, James taught elementary school and high school English in the Spackenkill School District in Poughkeepsie. He also taught English at Dutchess County Community College before earning a master’s degree in 1969 at the University at Albany of the State University of New York System. That year, James accepted a tenured position at SUNY Oneonta as an associate professor of English.

Professor James joined the faculty at Swarthmore College in 1973 and remained on the faculty there for 32 tears. His research focused on the writings of Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps, who he had met at Yale University while on a Danworth Foundation Post-Graduate Fellowship for Afro-American Studies. He was the editor of From the Roots: Short Stories by Black Americans (Dodd, Mead, 1975).

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Historically Black Central State University Appoints Morakinyo Kuti as President

Morakinyo A.O. Kuti has been named president of historically Black Central State University in Ohio. Dr. Kuti has held numerous leadership roles in his tenure with the university, most recently serving as vice president of research and economic development.

University of Alabama Creates Database Relating to History of Slavery on Campus

Scholars from the University of Alabama created an online database housing information on the history of slavery on the university's campus. The new website is the latest effort in a larger initiative from the Consortium of Universities Studying Slavery to uncover the history of enslaved individuals who labored for colleges and universities across the world.

Featured Jobs