Medgar Evers College mourns Don Kelley’s death

Dr. Don Quinn Kelley.
Medgar Evers College

The Medgar Evers College community in Brooklyn is mourning the passing of Dr. Don Quinn Kelley, a founding faculty member.

According to the predominantly Black college in Central Brooklyn, Dr. Kelley died on Wednesday, July 27, surrounded by his wife, Sandra Burton Kelley, daughter and other family members.

Dr. Delridge Hunter, a professor at the college, said in an email circulated to faculty and staff, that Dr. Kelley “suffered a massive heart attack” on Jul. 16 and was in the care of Baystate Medical Center in Palliative Care.

“Dr. Kelley, a historian and filmmaker, had a life of achievement and institution building,” said Medgar Evers College, adding that he was a professor of American and African-American history at the college.

In 1990, Kelley was a founding board member of TRANSART & Cultural Services, Inc., which promotes the art, history and popular cultures of people of African ancestry. Its first home was the Medgar Evers College library. He retired from Medgar Evers College in 2008.

Kelley was also a partner in ThinkLarge.org; a founding co-chair of Lift Ev’ry Voice, a festival celebrating African American culture and history in the Berkshires, Medgar Evers said.

He was also a professor emeritus at the City University of New York (CUNY).

ThinkLarge.org implements and supports projects of social relevance that lack sufficient resources to reach fruition, according to Medgar Evers College.

Within CUNY, Dr. Kelley chaired a Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and directed a Digital Media Center.

Additionally, he was on the faculty of the graduate Media Studies program at the New School in New York City.

“His documentaries have been screened worldwide, he created museum partnerships, and he received national recognition for course syllabi in American history and teacher education,” Medgar Evers College said.

At the time of going to press, no funeral arrangements have been made.

Regrets and condolences can be sent to: Burton/Kelley, P.O. Box 577, Williamstown, MA, 01267.

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