By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
Submitted: February 06, 2013
Posted: February 13, 2013
Tony Martin, an inspiration to his students and many of his colleagues, was a foundation member of the Africana Studies Department at Wellesley College. He believed in the integrity of the discipline and the principle of departmental autonomy. A meticulous scholar, his work on Marcus Garvey, particularly Race First, changed the depiction of Garvey in Caribbean and American historiography. A staunch nationalist and Pan Africanist, he took pride in his race and the principle of self-reliance that were embodied in Africana scholars such as Garvey, Malcolm X, Walter Rodney and C.L.J. James.
Tony was a prolific scholar and incisive thinker who brought to bear a wide variety of approaches to his scholarship and this teaching. In the process, he demonstrated that scholars can and do play an enormously important role in interpreting and re-constructing a people’s history. And while he and I may have disagreed in our ways of interpreting certain events, Tony and I maintained a respect for each other of which few persons are aware.
Tony Martin’s commitment to our discipline and his contribution to our department and our College are invaluable. We are better off because he trod in the footsteps of the great and glorious scholars of Africana Studies. He would be remembered always for his defense of an Africana way of seeing and his bravery in standing for the principles embodied therein.
May he Rest in Peace.
Professor Cudjoe is a professor Africana Studies at Wellesley College.