Updated: African American studies Prof. Richard Iton dies at 51


Source: Department of African-American Studies

African-American studies Prof. Richard Iton has died at 51, the department announced today. Iton came to Northwestern in 2002.

Joseph Diebold and Patrick Svitek

Prof. Richard Iton has died, the Department of African American Studies announced this morning. He was 51.

Iton had been privately battling leukemia for more than a decade, said Darlene Clark Hine, an African-American studies professor who worked next door to him in Crowe Hall. The cancer recently “flared up” after remission, Hine said.

“Our hearts are broken and our minds are jarred,” department chair Celeste Watkins-Hayes said in a letter to African-American studies students. “But we can take comfort in the fact that Richard touched many lives and made remarkable contributions to our department, our university, and our discipline.”

Iton was not teaching any classes this quarter, according to CAESAR.

Iton joined the political science department in 2002, becoming a joint member of that and the African-American studies department in 2004.

His studies focused on critical race theory and African-American politics. He is the author of three books, most recently 2008’s “In Search of the Black Fantastic,” which discusses black politics and popular culture in the years since the civil rights movement.

— Joseph Diebold and Patrick Svitek