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Remembering Dr. F. Elaine DeLancey

July 21, 2011 —

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. F. Elaine DeLancey, associate professor of English and founding editor of BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review. Dr. DeLancey died in her home on Monday, July 18, 2011.

In her 33 years at Drexel, Dr. DeLancey served not only as a faculty member in the Department of English, but also as the director of the African American Studies and Women’s Studies programs for a number of years. She taught courses in American and African American literature, with a distinct focus on the interplay between science, technology, and literature. For her expertise in these areas, she was invited to serve as a Pennsylvania Humanities Council speaker for five years in the 1990s, lecturing on “Technology & the Black Community: Black Talk Radio” and “Technology & the Black Community: Internet,” and “Slave Narratives.”

The Drexel community and the world at large benefitted from Dr. DeLancey’s early appreciation for the work of African American poet Sonia Sanchez. As the foremost scholar on Sanchez, DeLancey championed her importance to the literary community long before most people, making Drexel one of the first universities to honor and teach Sanchez’s work.

A high-achiever from a young age, Dr. DeLancey was named Junior Fellow of the Carnegie Foundation when she was a senior at Temple University. This prestigious appointment allowed her to conduct research with Lawrence Reddick, American historian and biographer of Martin Luther King Jr., and Alex Haley, author of Roots and coauthor of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Dr. DeLancey went on to receive her M.A. in American literature (English composition) and her Ph.D. in American literature (early and modern) from Temple.

The College of Arts and Sciences and Drexel University as a whole have lost a talented and well-respected scholar. Our deepest sympathies go out to Dr. DeLancey’s family and close friends.

An event will be held in Dr. DeLancey's honor at the start of classes in September. More information will be announced on this page as the academic year approaches.

A personal message from Dr. Abioseh Porter, head of the Department of English, can be found here.

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