James E. Kennedy, one of the first African-American professors in the United States, has died
Professor James E. Kennedy, one of the first African-American faculty members at the University of South Alabama and longtime administrator of the Mobile County Public School, died Saturday. He was 89 years old.
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Professor James E. Kennedy, one of the first African-American faculty members at the University of South Alabama and a longtime administrator of Mobile County Public Schools, died Saturday. He was 89 years old.
Kennedy, a native of Jackson, Miss. and longtime Mobilien, leaves behind his wife, four children and three grandchildren.
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A graduate of Central High School, Kennedy received a BS from Alabama State University and his MAT in art from Indiana University in 1964. He served in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1958 .
Kennedy launched his teaching career in the Mobile County public school system and worked his way up to vice-principal.
In 1968, Kennedy joined the American faculty as an instructor, making him one of the university’s first African-American faculty members. He was chairman of the art history department for 16 years. He specialized in painting, drawing, two-dimensional drawings, art education, African-American history, and African art history.
Kennedy was featured in the American book “The First 50 Years in 2013”.
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In total, Kennedy worked in the United States for 29 years. He was the founder of the Black Student Union, established the Black Studies Degree Program at the College of Arts and Sciences, helped create the Ethnic-American Art Slide Library, and helped establish the first two chapters of black fraternity on the American campus.
Kennedy retired from the United States in 1997 as a professor emeritus.
In addition to his contributions and honors in the United States, Kennedy served on the board of trustees of the Mobile Museum of Art for four terms. He served 15 years as a member of the Selective Service Board.
In 2018, Kennedy was one of five artists featured in the “5 Mobile Artists” exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art.