In Memoriam: Leroy Sterling, 1939-2023

A native of Booneville, Texas, Sterling applied to Texas A&M University in the early 1960s but was denied admission. But in 1963 he and two other Black students were allowed to enroll in summer sessions. There, he earned credits that went toward his bachelor's degree at historically Black Texas Southern University.

In Memoriam: Pamela Corela Smith, 1970-2023

A dedicated administrator, faculty member, and colleague, Dr. Smith’s 22-year career at the university included stints serving as interim dean of the College of Business from 2021 to 2022; associate dean of administration and faculty from 2019 to 2023; and associate dean for graduate studies from 2016 to 2019.

In Memoriam: André D. Green, 1982-2023

André D. Green was the assistant dean of students, director of activities and new student orientation, and director of the Efferson Student Union, at Florida A&M University. He had served on the staff at the university since 2006.

In Memoriam: Norman Hodges

Professor Hodges taught courses in African American, African, and Caribbean history at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, from the inception of the Africana studies program (which he directed twice) in 1969 until his retirement in 1998.

In Memoriam: André D. Green

André D. Green was the assistant dean of students, director of activities and new student orientation, and director of the Efferson Student Union, at Florida A&M University. He had served on the staff at the university since 2006.

In Memoriam: Micere Githae Mugo, 1942-2023

A native of Kenya, Dr. Mugo fled her native land to political turmoil and taught at St. Lawrence University. After returning to Africa to teach in Zambia and Zimbabwe, in 1992 she was named a visiting professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. A year later, she joined the department of African American studies at Syracuse University where she served for 22 years.

In Memoriam: Milfred C. Fierce, 1937-2023

In July 1969, Fierce became the first director of the  Urban Center for Black Studies at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The center with offices in downtown Poughkeepsie, two miles from the pristine campus of the liberal arts college, had a community focus.

In Memoriam: Andre Watts, 1946-2023

Andre Watts was a professor of piano who held the Jack I. and Dora B. Hamlin Endowed Chair in Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He joined the faculty there in 2004. Professor Watts began playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 9.

In Memoriam: Evelyn Boyd Granville, 1924-2023

After serving on the faculty at Fisk University in Nashville, in 1956 Dr. Granville was hired by IBM Corporation and was assigned to work on a contract for NASA. Dr. Granville wrote programs to track orbital trajectories and calculations to ensure the safe re-entry of space vehicles into the atmosphere. She later taught at California State University and the University of Texas at Tyler.

In Memoriam: Julius B. Thomas, 1961-2023

In 2021, Thomas was awarded the prestigious  Higher Educator of the Year Award from the National Education Association for championing faculty and student rights. He also received the James Davenport Memorial Award from the National Council for Higher Education. He was the first African American to win both of these prestigious awards.

In Memoriam: Charles Leroy Blockson, 1933-2023

Charles Blockson traveled the world and amassed a huge collection of more than 700,000 books, papers, photographs, newspaper articles, journals, sheet music, posters, artifacts, and memorabilia. His collection, now housed at Temple University in Philadelphia, spans from 1581 to the present day.

In Memoriam: William Edwards Spriggs, 1955-2023

Williams Spriggs began his academic career teaching at North Carolina A&T State University and then at Norfolk State University in Virginia. In 2005, Dr. Spriggs joined the faculty at Howard University, where he chaired the economics department until 2009. He then served as assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama administration. He returned to Howard and was named chief economist at the AFL-CIO in 2012.

In Memoriam: Christopher Smith, 1968-2023

Dr. Smith joined the faculty of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California in 2002. Earlier, he served as the director of primary research for Ruder Finn Public Relations in New York City.

In Memoriam: Christopher Smith, 1968-2023

Dr. Smith joined the faculty of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California in 2002. Earlier, he served as the director of primary research for Ruder Finn Public Relations in New York City.

In Memoriam: Lee Etta Powell, 1930-2023

Powell was the first woman and the first African Americans to serve as superintendent of the Cincinnati public school system, the third largest in the state of Ohio. She later taught at George Washington University.

In Memoriam: James Edward Kennedy, 1933-2023

Kennedy began his career as a teacher and later assistant principal in the Mobile County Public School System. In 1968, he was one of the first African Americans to join the faculty at the University of Southern Alabama.

In Memoriam: Robert Charles Smith, 1947-2023

Robert Charles Smith was a long-time member of the political science department at San Francisco State University. One of his later contributions to the literature was a discussion of how U.S. conservativism was inherently related to anti-Blackness.

In Memoriam: Lilly Adams-Dudley, 1950-2023

In 1975, Lilly Adams-Dudley joined the staff at Canisius College as a language arts specialist. She retired in 2018 as the director of Canisius Opportunity Programs for Education (COPE) which provided scholarships, mentoring, and tutoring for students from underrepresented groups.

In Memoriam: Donald Brown

Donald Brown served as director of the Office of African, Hispanic Asian, and Native American (AHANA) Student Programs at Boston College for 27 years from 1978 to 2005.

In Memoriam: Randall Robinson, 1941-2023

Randall Robinson was a lawyer, civil rights activist, and educator. He was one of America's leading voices in opposition to South African apartheid. He taught at Pennsylvania State University from 2008 to 2016.

In Memoriam: Wayne Shorter, 1933-2023

Wayne Shorter was a pioneering jazz musician, composer, and a former member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. He won 12 Grammy Awards (the last one in 2022), the 2017 Polar Music Prize, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2018.

In Memoriam: Roslyn Elizabeth Pope, 1938-2023

While a senior at Spelman College in Atlanta, Pope along with a young Julian Bond wrote "An Appeal for Human Rights," which laid the groundwork for the formation of civil rights protests by college students in Atlanta.

In Memoriam: Arthur E. Thomas, 1940-2023

In 1985, Dr. Thomas was appointed president of Central State University. He was the first alumnus of the school to serve as university president. Dr. Thomas served as president of the university until 1995.

In Memoriam: Patricia Liggins Hill, 1942-2023

Dr. Hill joined the faculty at the University of San Francisco in 1970 as an instructor in English and ethnic studies. Dr. Hill retired as a full professor in 2015 after teaching at the University of San Francisco for 45 years.

In Memoriam: John H. Bracey Jr., 1941-2022

Professor Bracey was a leading figure in the fields of African American studies and U.S. history. He joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 1972 and helped create one of the nation’s first doctoral programs in African American studies.

In Memoriam: Fannie Gaston-Johansson, 1938-2023

Dr. Gaston-Johansson was a member of the University of Nebraska Medical Center faculty from 1985 to 1993. She joined the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1993. In 1998, Professor Gaston-Johansson became the first Black woman to become a tenured professor at Johns Hopkins University.

In Memoriam: G. Reginald Daniel, 1949-2022

After serving as a lecturer at UCLA, Dr. Daniel began teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1992. He was named an assistant professor of sociology in 1998. He was promoted to associate professor in 200e and to full professor in 2009.

In Memoriam: Wiley Joseph Henderson Jr., 1934-2022

In 1978, Wiley J. Henderson accepted a position as an associate professor of biology at Alabama A&M University where he taught for the next 42 years.

In Memoriam: Bobby Lee Lovett, 1943-2022

In 1973, Dr. Lovett joined the faculty at Tennessee State University, a historically Black educational institution in Nashville. In addition to teaching history for more than 30 years, Dr. Lovett served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the university.

In Memoriam: Charles Sommerville Harris, 1951- 2022

Charles S. Harris was the former athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State University, and Averett University in Virginia, and the former commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He was the first African American to serve as the athletic director at an Ivy League school.

In Memoriam: Sylvester Modupe Broderick Jr., 1941-2022

A native of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Professor Broderick came to the United States in 1959 to attend what is now Otterbein University in Ohio. He later taught at North Carolina A&T State University, the University of Wisconsin, and universities in Brazil and Africa.

In Memoriam: Oscar Lewis Prater, 1939-2022

Dr. Prater was appointed the sixth president of Fort Valley State College in 1990. During his tenure, he presided over the college's transition to university status. He stepped down in 2001. Dr. Prater later was named the nineteenth president of Talladega College and served from 2005 to 2007.

In Memoriam: Walter D. Broadnax, 1944-2022

After serving as dean of the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., in 2002 Dr. Broadnax became president of Clark Atlanta University. He served in that role for six years. At the time of his death, Dr. Broadnax was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Administration and International Affairs in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

In Memoriam: Bobbie Brown Knable, 1936-2022

Knable joined the staff at Tufts University in 1970 beginning as an instructor in the English department. In 1980 she was appointed dean of students and remained in that role until her retirement in 2000.

In Memoriam: Willa Elaine Johnson, 1957-2022

Dr. Johnson taught at the University of Mississippi for 23 years. Colleagues remember her as a “renaissance woman” who was an expert in many disciplines, fluent in multiple languages, and an artist. She was only the second Black woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in Hebrew Bible.

In Memoriam: Daniel L. Blash, 1968-2022

Since 2019, Daniel L. Blash was vice dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Earlier, he served as the assistant dean of diversity and inclusion at Washington University's School of Medicine.

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