Norman Hodges, professor emeritus at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York died on July 10. He was the first tenured Black professor in history and Africana studies at the selective liberal arts college.
Professor Hodges taught courses in African American, African, and Caribbean history from the inception of the Africana studies program (which he directed twice) in 1969 until his retirement in 1998.
Hodges traveled often to Africa and frequently spoke out against South African apartheid and the “relentless spread of pernicious neo-colonialism throughout many areas of the African continent.” President Jimmy Carter called upon Hodges to serve on a panel on U.S. Relations and Africa, specifically contributing his views on future American policy toward what was then Rhodesia. Hodges also called for “greater understanding of the common experience of oppression, exploitation, and sufferance which binds all Blacks in Africa and in the diaspora together.”
Following his retirement in 1998, Vassar College established the Norman E. Hodges Endowed Lectureship on Race and American Law.