Martin Kilson, a scholar of class, power, and the challenges facing African Americans, died April 24 of congestive heart failure at age 88.Kilson, who in 1969 became the first African American to be named a full professor at Harvard College, taught at the College for nearly four decades, retiring in 1999 as the Frank G. Thompson Professor of Government Emeritus. He died in hospice care in Lincoln, Mass.Early in his academic career, Kilson spent 18 months conducting research in Sierra Leone as that West African nation transitioned from British colonial rule to independence. The work resulted in the 1966 book “Political Change in a West African State: A Study of the Modernization Process in Sierra Leone,” and provided a foundation for Kilson’s work examining the interplay of power, political leadership, and race, both in Africa and in the African American community.Influenced by the scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois, Kilson studied the rights and interests of the black American underclass. The 1976 essay collection he co-edited, “The African Diaspora: Interpretive Essays,” was the first published work to use the term “African diaspora.” Kilson was influential in the development of African American studies as both a discipline and a department at Harvard. His 2014 book, “The Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012,” received the 2015 American Book Award.Throughout his career, Kilson kept up a vigorous and forceful public commentary about the state of African American affairs. He is the author of several books and hundreds of articles, both in academic journals and in the popular press. In 2010, he delivered Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures.Kilson was born on Feb. 14, 1931, in East Rutherford, N.J., to a family with a history of service in the ministry. Two of his pre–Civil War great-grandfathers were among the founders of the first African Methodist Episcopal church among free blacks in Maryland.His family moved to Ambler, Pa., and Kilson attended Ambler High School, graduating in 1948. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, graduating as valedictorian in 1953 with a bachelor’s of science degree in political science.Kilson studied at Harvard on a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, earning his Ph.D. in 1959 before leaving for his work in Sierra Leone. On his return, he became a research associate at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. He was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Government in 1962. He became faculty adviser for the newly formed Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Students Association, and in 1969 became a professor of government at Harvard College, the first African American to receive tenure there.In 1975, Kilson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and, in 1988, was named the Frank G. Thompson Professor of Government, a title he held until his retirement in 1999. Related Faculty diversity continues to grow Percentages of women and minorities who are tenured and tenure-track reach record highs Bridget Terry Long, HGSE’s recently appointed dean and the first African American in the position, seeks to inspire On having — and being — a role model
In the basement of Le Mans Hall, a small room lined with shelves offers the Saint Mary’s community an opportunity to participate in a model of finding things they need and passing along things they no longer use.“We have a free store that provides many things for students that they might be looking for, ranging from clothes and bedding to anything they might be looking for … that they don’t want to buy or can’t afford to buy,” senior Annie Maguire, the ministry assistant for Le Mans Hall, said.The free store is one of several resources on campus that students can utilize when they find themselves in need, she said. Another of these is Mother Pauline’s Pantry, although it has no affiliation with Campus Ministry as the free store does.“The free store is an initiative through Campus Ministry,” Maguire said. “Campus Ministry has run and operated the free store since its creation.”All functions of the free store are overseen by Regina Wilson, director of Campus Ministry, Maguire said. It is staffed by the ministry assistants from each of the residence halls.“It’s a really nice way we can share our resources as a community and look out for each other,” Maguire said.The free store has a variety of items donated by the Saint Mary’s community, including clothing, bedding, school supplies and dishes.“We want to take away any stigma that can come with not having enough funds to purchase your own clothes, your own binders, folders and materials for school,” Maguire said. “All these things are necessary as a student.”Maguire said the expenses associated with being a college student are already high without the cost of items that are available in the free store.“The mission is to … really emphasize how we can take care of each other as a community, not just in Le Mans, but uniting all the [dorm] communities together,” she said.The free store opened to students for the year about a month ago, Maguire said.“We decided we would find a clear schedule and try to get it out to students as soon as we could so that students would look at the schedule and plan in the days when they could come in,” she said.In the past, students have noted the free store seemed to be open at odd times of day, Maguire said, so the ministry assistants who run the store want to make sure it gets better advertisement this year.“Most students who come in are discovering the free store for the first time, but there are also some returners,” she said. “It’s always a joy to see people walking through the doors for the first time and understanding this radical model that is very different from our consumer culture where everything has to be bought and sold. The moment when a student finds out that they can just take something for free, their eyes light up and it brings a smile to their face, knowing that Saint Mary’s is supporting them in a way that they need.”Maguire said members of Saint Mary’s faculty and staff are also welcome to make donations to and browse the free store. Donation boxes are located outside the free store, and their contents are placed on the store’s shelves each time an ministry assistant opens up shop.“I think this is a hidden gem of Saint Mary’s that is unique to us,” Maguire said. “I don’t see this model embodied at other institutions, and I think it’s one thing that’s really special and speaks to our mission of really meeting the needs of students.”Tags: Campus Ministry, Community, free store
DES MOINES — Democratic candidate Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor, has been criticizing the role Iowa and New Hampshire play in the presidential nominating process. He’s planning a town hall forum next Tuesday in Des Moines to discuss the issue.“There’s no reason that Iowa and New Hampshire that hardly have any black people or people of color should always go first,” Castro said during a conference call with reporters yesterday.New Jersey Senator Cory Booker told Iowans yesterday that if he fails to get enough support in qualifying polls, there will be a billionaire on the stage for the televised debate later this month, but no black candidate since with California Senator Kamala Harris dropped out of the race this week. Castro hasn’t qualified for the debate either“My concern is not the presence of any one candidate on the debate stage only,” Castro said yesterday. “We need to change the whole game.”Castro is not a fan of the caucus process.“There’s no reason that a caucus system that makes it harder for working people and people with disabilities to participate should be what we begin with,” Castro said. “We need to work to reform how we elect a president in the first place.”Later today, Castro is among the candidates who will participate in a forum in Waterloo that’s sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Iowa Farmers Union is hosting a forum in Grinnell this afternoon where several candidates will speak.