John Bracey Jr., founder of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst, has passed away at the age of 81. Professor Bracey played a key role in helping establish Amherst College’s Black Studies Department in 1971. Through his prolific and wide-ranging writing and research, he made significant contributions to Black studies, civil rights and activism during his five decades at UMass.
Born in Chicago, Professor Bracey obtained his BA from Roosevelt University before performing graduate work at Roosevelt and at Northwestern University. At UMass, Professor Bracey also chaired the Afro-American Studies Department, and served as co-director of the department’s graduate certificate in African Diaspora Studies.
In March of 2021, UMAss announced the John H. Bracey, Jr. Fellowship Fund, which “provides summer fellowship support for doctoral students in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.”
John Bracey photo: University of Massachusetts College of Humanities & Fine Arts