Raymond J. Smyke

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ray Smyke died peacefully at home in 2004, "in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday December 13th, after a long illness. He was surrounded by his family. It is our intention to keep this website alive, and in the coming days we will make available a message board to post tributes, memories, and other souvenirs that people have of Ray. In the meantime, in lieu of flowers, we would request that donations in his memory be made to the International Rescue Committee". [1]


He wrote:

"I was fortunate to have been among the first graduate students at Boston University's African Research and Studies Program, as it was then called. For two academic years, almost daily contact with the first generation of American Africanists shaped my notions of both research and Africa.

"Led by the program's founding director, Dr. William O. Brown, the faculty and students were all involved in this new venture. Classrooms and offices in the brownstone residence on Bay State Road breathed the excitement of the United States having recently "discovered" Africa. Inserting the program into a large urban university created teething problems, such as shortage of support staff. When Dr. Brown learned that I had office skills, he pressed me into service as his confidential typist--a valuable introduction to the world of foundations and universities.

"The program's initial teaching staff included: Dr. Carl G. Rosberg Jr., Dr. Daniel McCall, Dr. Adelaide Cromwell Hill, Dr. Elizabeth Colson, and other pioneers in African studies. I was Carl Rosberg's research assistant, and we became lifelong friends.

"Classmates were diverse and motivated. They included Eduardo Mondlene's wife, Janet, and in this way, I came to know the founding president of Frente de Libertaçao de Moçambique--FRELIMO. Indeed, I visited Eduardo in Tanzania several weeks before his assassination in January 1969. Janet continues to play a leading role in modern Mozambique.

"With the help of Dr. Brown, I joined the African American Institute, then located in Washington, and worked in all three key programs: placing American secondary school teachers in West Africa, entertaining African government visitors, and allocating scholarships to newly arrived students. About the same time, Dr. Helen Kitchen, editor of Africa Report, had the task of finding someone to lead a new African department at the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP), an international nongovernmental organization in Washington. After a six-month search, I was invited to join the Confederation to begin the interesting work of organizing African teacher unions during the critical period of state formation.

"Bill Brown and Carl Rosberg insisted that Africa's importance to the world could only be known through individual research generously shared with others." [2]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Home, Raymond J. Smyke, accessed March 24, 2010.
  2. Home, Raymond J. Smyke, accessed March 24, 2010.