Dr. Richard Iton did it all.
His book, “In Search of the Black Fantastic: Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities)”, which explorer the influence that Black culture had on society and the future of the United States, won the American Political Science Association’s Ralph Bunche Award in 2009 and was lauded as a must read guide to Black politics, activism, and culture. The students who took his class in the African American Studies division of Northwestern University were treated to an enlightening experience every semester. He was a force to be reckoned with in the academic world. But that wasn’t the only thing he brought to the table.
Dr. Iton’s spirit of generosity touched both his students and his colleagues. Always available to lend an ear, Dr. Iton will be remembered for his kind soul as well as his academic achievements. An avid supporter and patron of the arts, Dr. Iton commissioned a piece from Nathan Jalani Taylor’s to serve as the cover of his text. “Rise of a New Mind” is done with a red gradient background and an inky black core that has figures and movement reminiscent of the work created by the same artist titled, “Cave Dwellers”. The texture and structure of this work makes it a conversation piece, as is Dr. Iton’s text. It was a perfect pairing.
“Rise of a New Mind” will serve to promote Dr. Iton’s work. This time it will be in the form of the background for the poster promoting the symposium that will celebrate Dr. Iton’s life and work. Dr. Iton died of leukemia in April 2013. Taylor’s art will also serve as the visuals for the promotional efforts created for the future work of the African American studies program at Northwestern University, immortalizing the connection between artist and author.
The symposium celebrating the life and work of Dr. Richard Iton will be held at the Center For African American History in May 2014.