In Memoriam: Doris Adelaide Derby, 1939-2022

Doris Adelaide Derby, a noted photographer of the civil rights era and a long-time educator, died late last month. She was 82 years old and had suffered from cancer.

A native of The Bronx in New York City, Derby attended Hunter College in Manhattan where she became a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She graduated in 1962 and became a teacher. After visiting a friend in Mississippi where she was exposed to severe poverty, Derby began a long career as a photographer studying the life of low-income African Americans in the South.

Derby later earned a master’s degree in cultural and social anthropology, specializing in African-American studies and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Dr. Derby went on to teach African-American studies and anthropology at the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Dr. Derby later served as director of African-American student services at Georgia State University in Atlanta.


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