James E. Newton, an award-winning artist, a leader in Black American studies, and a teacher and mentor at the University of Delaware for more than three decades, died on May 24, 2022, just days before he was to be awarded an honorary degree from the university. He was 80 years old.
A native of Bridgeton, New Jersey, he was the fourth of nine children in his family. After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a bachelor’s degree at North Carolina Central University, where he majored n German and art. He then was was the first African-American to receive a master of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Newton earned a doctorate in curriculum development in Black studies and education from Illinois State University.
Dr. Newton joined the faculty at the University of Delaware in 1972 as an assistant professor of education. The following year he became associate professor and director of the Black American Studies Program. Dr. Newton retired in 2005 but continued to teach as an adjunct professor until 2016.