James E. Newton, University of Delaware professor emeritus of Black American Studies, retired from his full-time faculty position in 2005 after a 33-year career at UD. Besides his teaching duties, Newton directed what is now the Department of Black American Studies, acted as chair of the Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural Diversity and served as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Delaware State Advisory Committee. He also had a commitment to community service that included membership on the boards of the Walnut Street YMCA, Delaware State Arts Council, Delaware Art Museum, Tatnall School, YMCA of Delaware and Public Allies.
In 2012, Dr. Newton was named winner of the James H. Gilliam Sr. Chairman’s Award by the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. The award recognizes pioneers for outstanding contributions and leadership in the fight for civil rights and a more equal and inclusive America.
Newton was the first African-American to earn a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of North Carolina and received his doctorate from Illinois State University. He is the author of The Principles of Diversity: Handbook for a Diversity-Friendly America and of A Curriculum Evaluation on Student Knowledge of Afro-American Life and History. He also co-edited The Other Slaves: Mechanics, Artisans and Craftsmen and has won first-prize awards in sculpture and graphics in the National African American Art Exhibition in Atlanta.