In Memoriam: John Bracey Jr.
“John Bracey was a giant in the struggle for Black freedom. He showed that deep academic work was inseparable from the project of human liberation.”
— Sut Jhally, MEF Executive Director
MEF mourns the passing of John Bracey Jr., a civil rights icon and formative figure in Black studies who helped found the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst.
Bracey, who was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, and peace movements in the 1960s before distinguishing himself as a formidable history scholar and beloved teacher at UMass, died over the weekend at 81.
“He was a true champion for Black Studies and Black students, and his tireless work made us a much better university,” UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy wrote in a campuswide email.
MEF Executive Director Sut Jhally, who worked with Bracey on several MEF films and was his colleague at UMass for 35 years, noted Bracey’s relentless commitment to combining academic scholarship with transformative political action.
“John Bracey was a giant in the struggle for Black freedom and MEF was privileged to collaborate with him on a number of films,” Jhally said. “A pioneering scholar of African American history, he showed that deep academic work was inseparable from the project of human liberation. Above all he lived by Fred Hampton’s credo, ‘I am a revolutionary.’”
To read more about Bracey’s remarkable life, see this article in The Daily Hampshire Gazette.