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Niara Sudarkasa

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Information about Niara Sudarkasa

Profile image of Niara Sudarkasa

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Anthropology Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Grapes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
To Everything, There Is A Season.

Birthplace

Born:
8/14/1938
Birth Location:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
Anthropology Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Grapes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
To Everything, There Is A Season.

Birthplace

Born:
8/14/1938
Birth Location:
Fort Lauderdale
See how Niara Sudarkasa is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Accomplished scholar, educator, Africanist, and anthropologist, Niara Sudarkasa, was born Gloria Albertha Marshall on August 14, 1938, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sudarkasa was a gifted student who excelled at Dillard Elementary and Dillard High School; skipping several grades, she was a junior at the age of fourteen, and accepted early admission to Fisk University on a Ford Foundation Scholarship when she was just fifteen years old. In 1955, Sudarkasa transferred to Oberlin to complete her studies. Sudarkasa earned her A.B. degree in anthropology and English from Oberlin in 1957. In 1959, Sudarkasa received her M.A. degree in anthropology from Columbia University. In 1961, Sudarkasa traveled to London and Nigeria to complete doctoral research on Yoruba language and culture. While completing her PhD, Sudarkasa taught at Columbia, becoming the first African America woman to teach at the university; she earned her PhD from Columbia in 1964.

Sudarkasa achieved another first when she became the first African American woman to be appointed assistant professor of anthropology at New York University in 1964. Sudarkasa was also the first African American to be appointed to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan in 1969. While at Michigan, Sudarkasa became involved in civil rights and student issues; she quickly climbed the academic ladder at Michigan, ending her seventeen year tenure as associate vice president for academic affairs. Sudarkasa left Michigan in 1986 when she became the first female to serve as president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

Sudarkasa passed away on May 31, 2019.

Sudarkasa’s accomplishments at Lincoln are highlighted in the report, Lincoln University – The Drive Toward Distinction. Under Sudarkasa's presidency the university increased enrollment, strengthened its undergraduate and international programs, and put into place an ambitious minority recruitment effort; she left her post at Lincoln in 1998.

Sudarkasa serves as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. Sudarkasa has authored numerous publications, including The Strength of Our Mothers: African And African American Women in Families; Where Women Work: Yoruba Traders in the Marketplace and in the Home; and Exploring the African American Experience. Sudarkasa has been awarded thirteen honorary degrees over the course of her career, including one from Ft. Hare in South Africa, and is the recipient of nearly 100 civic and professional awards. In 2001 Sudarkasa became the first African American to be installed as a chief in the historic Ife Kingdom of the Yoruba of Nigeria.

Sudarkasa passed away on May 31, 2019.

See how Niara Sudarkasa is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Niara Sudarkasa's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa talks about her mother's profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her father and his profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her maternal grandparents' family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her siblings and daily life in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Niara Sudarkasa describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her love of oceans
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her childhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls moving to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her time at Dillard Elementary and High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her grandmother's admiration for Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her childhood dreams and aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her high school experience and college plans
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her decision to attend Fisk University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa talks about her decision to transfer to Oberlin College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her interest in anthropology at Oberlin College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa relates her regrets at leaving Fisk University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her experience at Columbia University in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa remembers travelling to London and Nigeria for her doctoral studies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls how Nigeria changed from the 1960s to the 1980s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her impressions of African women in Nigeria
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her early teaching positions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her book 'Where Women Work'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Niara Sudarkasa remembers the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her involvement with the Black Action Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa describes the courses she taught at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her administrative role at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa reflects upon the outcome of Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa talks about affirmative action versus legacy admissions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa shares her concerns for historically black colleges
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Niara Sudarkasa describes the climate at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University in 1987
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa recalls her interest in serving as president of Lincoln University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa describes her accomplishments at Lincoln University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa shares her concerns about standardized tests and the state of education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa reflects upon the factors that impact student success
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa describes social issues that impact education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa explains her decision to leave Lincoln University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Niara Sudarkasa explains her decision to leave Lincoln University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Niara Sudarkasa talks about the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Niara Sudarkasa reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Niara Sudarkasa talks about her son, Michael Sudarkasa, and her grandchildren
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Niara Sudarkasa describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Niara Sudarkasa narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Niara Sudarkasa narrates her photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Niara Sudarkasa narrates her photographs, pt. 3