News from the African/African American Studies department

Obituary for Rudolph Byrd (AFAM Director '85-'89)

October 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

It is my sad duty to inform you of the death of Rudolph Byrd, age 58, after a 10 year battle with cancer.  A prolific scholar, dedicated teacher, and community activist, Dr. Byrd began his academic career at Carleton College as assistant professor of English from 1985–1989 and director of the Program of African and African American Studies from 1986–1989.  He returned to Carleton as a convocation speaker in October 2010.

Dr. Byrd joined the faculty of Emory University in 1991 and was the founding director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference.  He also founded Emory's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.  A more complete obituary can be found at the Emory website:

A mass will be held in his honor this Friday, Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the King, 2699 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30305.  Details for a memorial service at Emory are forthcoming.   Instead of flowers, contributions may be made to the James Weldon Johnson Institute or the Winship Cancer Institute at the Emory University Hospital.

Dr. Byrd was a good friend, mentor, and colleague to many at Carleton.  Please keep all of Rudolph Byrd’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.