Pioneering Black Studies Scholar Roy Bryce-Laporte Dies

Dr. Roy Simon Bryce-Laporte, a sociologist who directed one of the first Black studies departments at an American university, died July 31 in Sykesville, Md. at age 78, The New York Times has reported. 

In 1969, Bryce-Laporte became director of Yale University’s newly-launched department of African-American studies, “when colleges and universities were recruiting Black students and searching for ways to include their culture, history and other concerns in the curriculum.”

”Black studies is the way by which respect is to be given to Blacks and to knowledge about Blacks,” Bryce-Laporte said in a 1969 article in the Times.

Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., an authority on African-American culture and history, told the Times on Tuesday that Bryce-Laporte inspired him as a Yale freshman to become a professor.

“A different model was available to me,” Gates told the Times.

Bryce-Laporte also taught at Colgate University, Hunter College, the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, Syracuse University, Catholic University of America, Howard University, University of Pennsylvania, and Colorado College.

For the entire New York Times obituary on Bryce-Laporte, read here.