Jack A. Kirkland Donates Collection of Papers to Washington University in St. Louis

Jack Arnett Kirkland has donated a collection of his publications on the social and economic development of Black Americans to Washington University Libraries in St. Louis, Missouri. The collection features works from the 1960s through the present day.

Since 1970, Kirkland has served as an associate professor in the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. In 1974, he co-founded and chaired the Black studies program, now known as the department of African and African American studies. He also founded the social and economic development concentration and served as its chair for 10 years. In recognition of his accomplishments, Washington University established the Jack A. Kirkland Scholarship for Social and Economic Development.

In addition to his career in academia, Kirkland has a background in public service. He served as director of community development for the Peace Corps for Latin America, director of transportation for the state of Missouri, and as a consultant with the Department of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. He also held multiple leadership roles with the Jeff-Vander-Lou Development Corporation in St. Louis.

Kirkland’s professional life has been dedicated to African American culture and education. He was the first Black person elected to the University City Board of Education, and served as a consultant regarding desegregation of St. Louis schools. He currently serves as the social economic developer of The Helping Village in St. Louis and leads workshops on developing multicultural learning environments with public schools across the the United States.

Kirkland’s collection at Washington University Libraries is vast, containing items such as teaching notes, conference materials, speeches, and professional correspondence. Notably, the collection features early material from the university’s original Black Studies program and reports from his time with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Kirkland received his bachelor’s degree in international relations and master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University in New York. He was the first Black graduate of the university’s School of Social Work.

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