In Memoriam

Gloria Rackley Blackwell (1927-2010)

Gloria Rackley Blackwell, a longtime educator and civil rights leader, died last month from heart failure at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Georgia. She was 83 years old.

While an undergraduate student at Claflin University and while studying for a master’s degree at South Carolina State University, Blackwell was an NAACP organizer and participated in dozens of civil rights protests. In 1963 she was fired from her job in the public school system of Orangeburg, South Carolina, for participating in demonstrations to desegregate schools and hospitals. She successfully filed suit to get her job back. She then spent four years on the faculty of Norfolk State University in Virginia and two years teaching black studies courses at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In 1970 Blackwell moved to Atlanta to pursue a Ph.D. in American studies at Emory University. After earning her doctorate in 1973, she joined the faculty of Clark Atlanta University. She retired from Clark Atlanta in 1993.