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Dr. Martin Kilson Dead at 88

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Dr. Martin Kilson, the first Black to be named a full professor at Harvard University, died last week. He was 88.

A trained political scientist, Kilson began his teaching career at Harvard in 1962 and was later named the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government from 1988 until his retirement in 1999.

Dr. Martin KilsonDr. Martin Kilson

Born in 1931, Kilson graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received his PhD. from Harvard in 1959.

During his early tenure at Harvard, Kilson was instrumental in the development of African American studies both as an academic discipline and as a department at Harvard University in the 1960s and mentored legions of African-American Harvard students across the years including Dr. Cornel West.

Kilson authored numerous books and articles but is best known for his 1966 text Political Change in a West African State.


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