In Memoriam: James Russell Dumpson, 1909-2012

James R. Dumpson, the former dean of the Graduate School of Social Science at Fordham University and longtime administrator for the City of New York, died earlier this month after suffering a stroke. He was 103 years old. Dr. Dumpson was the oldest living alumnus of Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. He also held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the New School in New York City and a Ph.D. from the University of Dacca in Bangladesh.

A native of Philadelphia, Dumpson graduated from Cheyney University in 1932 and took a job teaching in a racially segregated school. He then began a career with the government of the City of New York that spanned more than 60 years, working in the administration of five different mayors.

In 1967 he was appointed dean of social work at Fordham, becoming the first African American dean of a predominantly white school of social work. He served until 1974 when he returned to city government as head of the New York City Human Resources Administration. He was a past president of the Council on Social Work Education.

An endowed chair at Fordham University now bears his name.


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  1. Jeffrey Hart says:

    My uncle lived a good and historic life. He was our leading champion who we all loved, learned from, and as A family are exteremely proud of for his life and achievements. Thanks to all who have paided their respects, allow his spirit of rightousness live in each of us as we learn that we do make a difference and can be a positive force for African Americans and others around the world. Peace & Blessings

    • The epitome of a Cheyney Man!
      We thank Dr. Dumpson’s family and God for sharing him with us and with the world. His dedication to doing right for the least of our brethren, his contributions to America, and his exemplary dignity have helped make life and earning respect visibly easier for for Black men everywhere.
      Rest in God’s peace, esteemed griot!

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