In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Josephine McCann Posey

In Memoriam: Josephine McCann Posey

In 1984 Dr. Posey became the first woman to serve as the dean of the School of Education and Psychology at Alcorn State University. In addition to her duties as university historian, she also served as interim vice president for academic affairs, special assistant to the president at Alcorn, and department chair.

In Memoriam: Ivery Dwight Clifton, 1943-2020

In Memoriam: Ivery Dwight Clifton, 1943-2020

Ivery Clifton was a professor emeritus in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. In 1994, he was the first African American in the university’s history to serve in the role of dean.

In Memoriam: Bill Wilson, 1940-2019

In Memoriam: Bill Wilson, 1940-2019

Bill Wilson was the first African American elected to the city council in St. Paul, Minnesota, founder of the Higher Ground Academy, and former administrator at the University of Minnesota.

In Memoriam: Joe. A. Hairston, 1948-2019

In Memoriam: Joe. A. Hairston, 1948-2019

Dr. Hairston was the first African American to lead the Baltimore County school system. After 12 years as superintendent, Dr. Hairston taught educational leadership and policy at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In Memoriam: Paul Elritt Meacham, 1936-2019

In Memoriam: Paul Elritt Meacham, 1936-2019

Dr. Meacham was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in education at the University of Texas and the first African American to serve as president of a college or university in the state of Nevada.

In Memoriam: Tejumola Olaniyan, 1959-2019

In Memoriam: Tejumola Olaniyan, 1959-2019

A native of Nigeria, Dr. Olaniyan was the Louise Durham Mead Professor of English and the Wole Soyinka Professor of the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In Memoriam: Shirley Walker Dixon, 1946-2019

In Memoriam: Shirley Walker Dixon, 1946-2019

Dr. Dixon was a pioneer in many ways at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania. In 1990, she was the first African American to be appointed to the university’s board of trustees. In 2018, she was the first person to be awarded a doctorate at the university and also became the first person to earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at Cabrini.

In Memoriam: Mary T. Christian, 1924-2019

In Memoriam: Mary T. Christian, 1924-2019

Dr. Christian served as chair of the department of elementary education and was dean of the School of Education at Hampton University in Virginia. She also was elected to nine consecutive terms as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

In Memoriam: Ernest James Gaines, 1933-2019

In Memoriam: Ernest James Gaines, 1933-2019

Ernest J. Gaines, the celebrated author and long-time educator at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, died earlier this month at his home in Oscar, Louisiana. He was 86 years old.

In Memoriam: Wilhelmina Matilda Reuben-Cooke, 1946-2019

In Memoriam: Wilhelmina Matilda Reuben-Cooke, 1946-2019

Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke was a professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, professor emerita of law at Syracuse University in New York, and one of the first African American students to enroll at Duke University in North Carolina.

In Memoriam: Clifford Cornell Baker, 1929-2019

In Memoriam: Clifford Cornell Baker, 1929-2019

In 1976, Dr. Baker was named assistant state superintendent of education in Alabama. This was the highest position ever held at that time by an African-American in the state’s Department of Education. He came out of retirement in 1991 to become the ninth president of Alabama State University.

In Memoriam: Alfred Lee Bright, 1940-2019

In Memoriam: Alfred Lee Bright, 1940-2019

Professor bright joined the faculty at Youngstown State University in Ohio in 1965. He was the university’s first Black faculty member. He served as the founding director of the Black studies program at the university from 1970 to 1987.

In Memoriam: Floyd David Young Jr., 1938-2019

In Memoriam: Floyd David Young Jr., 1938-2019

Floyd Young was the founder and president of FDY Inc. a food services company that provided services to historically Black Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He provided financial assistance to more than 100 students through the Floyd and Norma Young Annual Scholarship.

In Memoriam: Tracie Gibson

In Memoriam: Tracie Gibson

Dr. Gibson joined the staff at the University of Massachusetts in 2017. Before coming to Amherst, Dr. Gibson served on the faculty at the University of Texas-Permian Basin and later at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In Memoriam: James A. Donaldson, 1941-2019

In Memoriam: James A. Donaldson, 1941-2019

Dr. Donaldson joined the faculty at Howard University in 1971. He chaired the Howard University mathematics department from 1972 to 1990. In this position, he developed the first doctoral program in mathematics at a historically Black university.

In Memoriam: Cornelius W. Grant, 1931-2019

In Memoriam: Cornelius W. Grant, 1931-2019

Cornelius Grant, who served for 30 years as vice president of student affairs at Albany State University, died late last month in Albany, Georgia.

In Memoriam: Cain Hope Felder, 1943-2019

In Memoriam: Cain Hope Felder, 1943-2019

Cain Hope Felder was a biblical scholar who taught at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C. for 35 years. There he served as the editor of The Journal of Religious Thought.

In Memoriam: Matthew Jenkins, 1933-2019

In Memoriam: Matthew Jenkins, 1933-2019

Dr. Jenkins served as a member of the Tuskegee University board of trustees and president of the Tuskegee University Foundation. Upon the sudden resignation of then-President Gilbert Rochon in 2013, Dr. Jenkins was asked to serve as acting president of Tuskegee University.

In Memoriam Wilbert Greenfield, 1933-2019

In Memoriam Wilbert Greenfield, 1933-2019

Dr. Wilbert Greenfield became the tenth president of Johnson C. Smith University in 1973 and served in that role until 1982. In 1984, the University’s board of trustees named a dormitory Wilbert Greenfield Hall in his honor.

In Memoriam: Gwendolyn Lytle

In Memoriam: Gwendolyn Lytle

Gwendolyn Lytle was a member of the music department faculty at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for 35 years. Earlier, she taught at the University of California, Riverside.

In Memoriam: McDonald Williams, 1917-2019

In Memoriam: McDonald Williams, 1917-2019

Dr. Williams served as director of the Honors Program at Tennessee State University for 23 years before his retirement in 1988. He also spent 30 years at the university serving as a professor of English.

In Memoriam: Paule Marshall, 1929-2019

In Memoriam: Paule Marshall, 1929-2019

Paule Marshall taught at both Virginia Commonwealth University and New York University. She authored numerous novels, essays, and works of short fiction.

In Memoriam: Roderick Earl Richardson, 1955-2019

In Memoriam: Roderick Earl Richardson, 1955-2019

In 1986, Roderick Richardson joined the staff at the University of Maryland College Park as a budget analyst. He retired from his position in 2015 due to ailing health.

In Memoriam: Julius S. Scott Jr., 1925 -2019

In Memoriam: Julius S. Scott Jr., 1925 -2019

Julius S. Scott Jr. served as president of two historically Black colleges and as interim president of several additional colleges and universities.

In Memoriam: Harrison B. Wilson Jr., 1925-2019

In Memoriam: Harrison B. Wilson Jr., 1925-2019

Dr. Wilson served as president of Norfolk State for 22 years. When he arrived on campus in 1975, the school only offered four graduate programs and enrolled 191 students. By the end of Dr. Wilson’s presidency in 1997, the university offered 14 master’s programs, one doctoral program, and enrolled 1,110 students.

In Memoriam: Andraé  Derrell Sailes, 1979-2019

In Memoriam: Andraé Derrell Sailes, 1979-2019

Sailes joined the staff at Purdue University in June 2004 as the assistant director of undergraduate admissions. He became director of academic and career advising for the College of Liberal Arts in 2016.

In Memoriam: David L. Ferguson, 1949-2019

In Memoriam: David L. Ferguson, 1949-2019

David L. Ferguson was department chair and Distinguished Service Professor of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University in New York. He had taught at the university since 1981.

In Memoriam: William Benjamin Ray Sr., 1925-2019

In Memoriam: William Benjamin Ray Sr., 1925-2019

After concluding his career as an opera performer, Ray taught for 10 years at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1992, Ray became director of the voice program at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In Memoriam: Philip Freelon, 1952-2019

In Memoriam: Philip Freelon, 1952-2019

Philip Freelon was an educator, architect, and a key figure in the design of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He served as a professor of practice at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In Memoriam: Rita Roberts Jones, 1934-2019

In Memoriam: Rita Roberts Jones, 1934-2019

Rita Jones began her career at Oakwood University in 1972 as dean of freshman women.

In Memoriam: Floyd L. Robinson

In Memoriam: Floyd L. Robinson

Floyd L. Robinson was the former band director, professor, and administrator at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Upon his retirement in 2001, the university renamed its fine arts auditorium in his honor.

In Memoriam: Wright Lassiter Jr., 1934-2019

In Memoriam: Wright Lassiter Jr., 1934-2019

Dr. Lassiter was appointed chancellor of Dallas County Community College District in 2007. He was the first African American to hold the position. Earlier in his career, Dr. Lassiter served for 20 years as president of El Centro College in Dallas.

In Memoriam: Tchet Dereic Dorman, 1965-2019

In Memoriam: Tchet Dereic Dorman, 1965-2019

Dr. Dorman most recently served as a senior consultant for the American Cancer Society. Earlier in his career, Dr. Dorman was director of student support services at Temple University in Philadelphia.

In Memoriam: Adelaide Cromwell, 1919-2019

In Memoriam: Adelaide Cromwell, 1919-2019

Dr. Cromwell first joined the Boston University faculty in 1951. Two years later, she co-founded the university’s African Studies Center. In 1969, she founded the university’s African American studies program, the country’s second such program and the first to offer a graduate degree in the subject.

In Memoriam: Byrdie Annette Larkin, 1952-2019

In Memoriam: Byrdie Annette Larkin, 1952-2019

Dr. Larkin joined the faculty at Alabama State University in 1977. At the time, she was the only women faculty member in the department of political science. She taught at the university for 39 years until her retirement in 2016.

In Memoriam: Niara Sudarkasa, 1938-2019

In Memoriam: Niara Sudarkasa, 1938-2019

In 1969, Dr. Sudarkasa joined the faculty at the University of Michigan. She was the first tenured African American faculty member at the university. In 1986, she was appointed the eleventh president of historically Black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and served in that role for 12 years.