Martin Luther Kilson Jr. was born February 14, 1931, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and died on April 24, 2019.
He was an African American political scientist.
Kilson was the first black academic to serve as a full professor at Harvard University, where he was later the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government from 1988 until his retirement in 1999.
His parents were Martin and Louisa Kilson.
His family relocated to Ambler, Pennsylvania when he was younger.
He attended Ambler High School before graduating at the top of his class at Lincoln University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1953.
Kilson earned a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and completed his education at Harvard University.
He graduated with a master’s degree in 1958 and a doctorate the following year.
He used a Ford Foundation Fellowship to undertake field research in West Africa.
Following his retirement from teaching in 1999, he continued to write and occasionally lecture.
During 2002, he wrote a review for The Black Commentator critical of Randall Kennedy for the title of his book, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.
In 2010, Kilson was featured in Harvard’s annual W. E. B. DuBois lectures.
He also wrote his final book, The Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012, which was published in 2014.
Marion Dusser de Barenne was his wife, they had three children.
The couple resided in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Kilson passed away at 88 years old.