Remembering J. Blaine Hudson

Please share thoughts, condolences, memories, and comments on the great man we will all miss dearly.

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77 Responses to Remembering J. Blaine Hudson

  1. Tony Arnold says:

    I am so saddened by the loss of Blaine. He was a thoughtful and caring leader at the University of Louisville. He heroically and effectively championed racial justice and social justice in our community and in society, not only opposing injustice but also helping to build community across groups, classes, and races in the Louisville region. In all of these things he inspired and encouraged me and many others. He had a tremendous impact on the world around him. More personally, I remain grateful for the ways that Blaine graciously and generously welcomed me to participate in the activities of the College of Arts & Sciences, such as the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Committee, and he always made a point to greet me on campus, even though he was usually deep in thought as he walked across campus. The image of him deep in thought as he walked to a meeting or event where he would effectuate change captures so much about his uncommon mix of intellect, values, passion, and action. My prayers are with all his family and friends.

  2. Denise Deal says:

    Blaine will be remembered fondly by everyone privileged to encounter him through his years of service to UofL. I appreciate his many contributions to the UofL community. I will remember him most for his kind heart. I extend my sympathy to his family, friends, and colleagues during this season of grief.

  3. Cheri Bryant Hamilton says:

    I was fortunate to have known Blaine Hudson since our childhood in the turbulent 1960’s in the West end of Louisville where his participation in civil rights and black consciousness activities fueled his scholarly pursuits for black history. These events and activities helped mold his character, nurtured his soul and grew into a life-long passion for social justice, racial equality and appreciation of history. I remember when Blaine was kicked out of U of L for his occupation on campus and love the irony that he came back to run the Pan African Studies department and later became Dean of A & S. Blaine was one of the most intelligent, generous, committed, and down-to-earth people I’ve ever known. He didn’t just teach history for the community at the Saturday Academy, he breathed life into it with personal anecdotes about his family and his personal knowledge of other local black leaders activities in this city. You could almost see York blazing the trail with Lewis and Clark, or a black woman and her family crossing the Underground Railroad to freedom from the shores of Portland to New Albany, Indiana. Blaine helped you appreciate the importance of history and that our knowledge of the past wasn’t just for information’s sake. He felt it must be shared with in order to build upon our proud legacy and accomplishments of our forefathers as we tackle the challenges of the present to bring about a brighter tomorrow for our youth and this entire community.He believed in political activism and grass roots solutions. I was happy to support and attend the Saturday Academy and hope that it will continue for decades to come. Blaine and Bani were a dynamic duo and shared the same passion and commitment with all they came in contact with. Blaine will be sorely missed and we thank his family for sharing him with us all these years. Peace.

  4. Dr. Hudson was first someone I had come to admire as a caring son some thirty years ago. His mother and I lived in the same building and he was always there tending to her needs. Some years later, he became my professor. I am humbled to have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of this brilliant, humble scholar who loved W.E.B. DuBois. Later, he became my dean and friend as he paved ways and opened doors for others and me. Without question, I am far richer for the gift of his quiet but strong presence and character; he greatly influenced my life and career with an indelible imprint. May God tenderly comfort his wife, family and friends as we all grieve his loss and celebrate his life and prominent legacy. Finally, to Jameson Bennett, my former student, may you rise to make a difference with the extraordinary humility and wisdom of your father, Dean J. Blaine Hudson.

    W.E.B. DuBois said, “A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.” J. Blaine Hudson was a classic.

    – Vanessa G. Cunningham-Engram, Ed.D., J.D.

  5. Sena Jeter Naslund, Writer in Residence, U of L says:

    How to describe his voice? Rich and full, his voice was like a river freely flowing from an inner self, intricately nuanced, to us. There was patience, sincerity, and warmth in his speaking. It was a conduit for peace and justice.

    For all its full richness, the edges of his voice were delicate and refined by the nature of his spirit. Blaine had a sense of balance taht weighed idealism and practicality–what was right with the ego-needs of others. He helped us in our various academic definitions to be our own essential and authentic selves.

    He was a man of the people, but there was the sureness of nobility in his voice and in his stance. As a youth, he presumed to put the need for change ahead of rules and regulations and ahead of his own future self interests. As our dean, he calmly assumed the tiller to steer us, with ALL aboard, toward a better shore.

  6. Susan Griffin says:

    Looking at the picture at the top of this page–Blaine, lively, engaged, amused, open–makes it even harder to realize that Blaine is gone. Dean Hudson was above all a man of great integrity, whose word could be relied on without question. He kept always to his values: concerned above all with the welfare of students; supportive of the faculty and staff of A & S; a strong advocate for liberal arts education. He spoke his mind and invited others to do so as well: Blaine was never afraid to disagree and one never needed to fear disagreeing with him. And he was so deeply engaged in and committed to his work. Receiving an email reply sent at some ungodly hour, I would wonder Blaine ever went off-duty. I suspect not. It is hard to imagine someone else whose life and work could be so interwoven with the University of Louisville and the Louisville community. It’s a tremendous loss.

  7. Rev. Mary Frances Stiner says:

    I remember Dr. Hudson as the man with the almost angelic smile, a distinguished gentleman, an intellectual scholar, a civil rights magnate, and a community leader. My heartfelt sympathy is sent to Bani and the entire family. He will be missed; however, the achievements of his lifetime shall live forever.

  8. Helge Toufar says:

    I had the honour to serve Dean Hudson as member of the advisory board since 2009. Based on his personality and broad intellectual interests, we was one of the most impressive leaders I ever met – calm, extremely efficient and visionary at the same time. I learnt a lot from him and will certainly miss him a lot. My thoughts are with the family.

  9. tomalynnsmith says:

    Thank you!

  10. Romona Taylor says:

    I was a student at Male High and remember the brilliant young Mr. Blaine Hudson.No one was kinder or more accepting of others.He graduated and became a leader in the Black Student Union and I along with other Male students joined him. He knew that some of us were going to be kicked out of school and he didn’t want it to be us(Male students), so he sent us to become a diversion in the cafeteria. He was always a brilliant thinker and a caring individual. When both of my daughters graduated from the College of Arts and Science and Dr. J. Blaine Hudson shook their hands and presented them with their degrees , I was extremely proud of them and extremely proud of the man who presented them with their degrees. I will always remember the man with the hair and smile that was unforgettable. He always laughed when I talked about his hair and never was angry or thought it was beneath him to take a stroll down memory lane with someone .God Bless You, Blaine. The world is a lot dimmer without your light. Thank you for being a beacon for a lot of young people in this community.
    Romona (Dale) Taylor
    Go Bulldogs ’69

    • Natalie Cobb says:

      Thanks Romona for telling the truth. We were enthralled by Dr. Hudson when he was young and he became more than we imagined. Your comments sufficiently express my thoughts as well. Though I have only heard of his remarkable work and commitment on the other side of the country, I am sure the community is a much better place for having him.

  11. Rhonda Mathies says:

    For me their are not any aquate words to express my heart felt saddness in the ttransition of Dr.
    Hudson. We all have our season to leave this earth and realizing “God” is in control,therefore
    I must count the “Blessings” that I can call “Blaine” a friend,one who gave his all to humanity.
    He made a difference for so many,we are all better off because of his generous giving of himself.
    So,I say “THANK YOU” Lord for “Dr. James Blaine Hudson”

  12. Today, the Louisville Urban League (LUL) joins this community in celebrating the life and achievements of Dr. J. Blaine Hudson. Dr.. Hudson was a quiet, yet influential force in pursuit of social and economic equity for all African Americans. Because of his understated style, few may recognize the power and reach of his effort. Here, at the Louisville Urban League, we have viewed many examples. However, perhaps none was so great as his contributions in making our landmark study, “The State of African-American Youth in Metropolitan Louisville”, possible.

    Published in 2002, this study was groundbreaking in so many ways. It had been over fifty years since the seminal research conducted by the Louisville Urban League, with the assistance of the National Urban League and researcher J. Harvey Kerns had examined the economic and cultural conditions of the African-American community in Louisville. Many of the concerns expressed then have come to fruition and are expressed through today’s black youth. LUL felt compelled to explore the issue and Dr. Hudson understood all to well the importance of data that illustrates where we are and need to go as a community.

    Without him, this research, which has been well received and widely used, would have been almost impossible. Despite the many community and academic commitments on his plate, he made room for us. He did not hesitate to offer his time, research acumen and university resources to make what would have been cost prohibitive, with LUL’s limited budgets. He did so with humor, tenacity and the gracious style none of us will ever forget.

    Research and the knowledge it builds carry immense power. Dr. Hudson was instrumental in assisting the new “55,000 Degree” initiative– that was borne out of the Mayor Abramson administration and formalized and adopted under Mayor Greg Fischer. Through training and experience, he understood the linkage between education and the future of our metropolitan community. Through research, he helped to establish goals to which the whole community is aspiring, in order to make a difference– 55,000 new Baccalaureate Degrees and Associates of Arts Degrees among the overall population, 15,000 of which will be African American. In this way, Blaine stands among the giants in educational activism– such as Harvey C. Russell and Albert Meyzeek. Like them, he was not satisfied with his own achievements. He felt compelled to reach back and help elevate not only African Americans, but the whole community.

    For those of us who called Dr. Hudson friend and colleague, it seems unfathomable that he will no longer be just a phone call away. He is gone and his absence will be sorely felt for years to come. So quiet and gracious a man, he was strangely formidable in what he could accomplish. Dr. Ricky Jones has noted, “The man with the velvet hammer” and to this we heartily concur. Today, the Louisville Urban League stands with all of you who bow their heads sadly while rejoicing about this life well lived. There is so much to say, but words seem not nearly enough. Blaine, respected friend and colleague, you gave so much for so little. You have left an empty chair, but a full legacy. We are honored and glad that you passed our way.

  13. Ian Leslie Harry says:

    The sorrow I’ve experienced since your passing is only exceeded by the joyful memories of our friendship for nearly 50 years. Your counsel, intellect and knowledge have been an inspiration for learning and for understanding the experiences of life. From physics to philosophy to mathematics to history to music, I have been enlightened by your thoughts and words. Thank you, my friend, and rest in peace.

  14. Bud says:

    I am grateful for Dr Hudson’s scholarly contributions to the social justice effort in Louisville especially the invitation to Michelle Alexander to speak. I have dedicated the current main story in to his memory.

  15. Laney says:

    I did not know him personally but as a participant in the Brazilian Studies Program, I am thankful for his services to the school and to the students. His efforts had a direct and positive impact on my education and I’m glad there are people like Dr. Hudson who care so much about the opportunities available to learners.

  16. Sabrina Pascoal says:

    I am deeply sorry for this loss. In 2010 I was an exchange student from Brazil and Professor Hudson was one of the people who encouraged and helped our program to succeed. He welcomed us very kindly. We own him a great deal of our experience in Louisville University. We had the opportunity to engage in some of his social programs and these experiences meant a lot for us. There is no doubt he was a great man and will be trully missed.

  17. Judy Marti says:

    I will forever be grateful for Dr. Hudson for helping found the Brazilian Student Exchange Program I was able to participate in. Not only were our eyes opened to a new culture, the vibrant Brazilian culture, but many Brazilian students were able to share in our American culture. None of these inter-cultural experiences would happened if not for his vision. Thank you Dr. Hudson for making all of us richer, more compassionate world citizens! Many walk the walk of life, few make a big difference for many.

  18. Amanda de Oliveira Silva (Brazilian scholar) says:

    Dean Hudson was an honorable man who positively impacted my university in Brazil. Because of him, other Brazilian students and I had the wonderful change to study at UofL and experience university life in the U.S. He gave us the change to become better students and professionals. He will be missed and remembered. Dean Hudson, thank you for everything!

  19. Dean Hudson made it possible to many English students in Brazil to accomplish the dream of studying abroad in the United States and distinguish themselves among the most qualified professionals in the market. The fall semester I spent at UofL became a milestone in my life: from that semester on, my life has never been the same. This scholarship opened important doors for me, and was the main factor through which I got my current job: today I work at one of the largest translation companies in the world, in New York City. Thank you, Dean Hudson, for opening the doors to so many Brazilian dreamers. Rest in peace.

  20. *for so many Brazilian dreamers. – hit ‘send’ too soon.

  21. Nicola (Brazilian Scholar) says:

    I had the pleasure of taking a class with Dr. Hudson. His vast knowledge but more so his humility amazed me from the beginning. His love for and desire to see his students and by extension all he knew succeed and grow intellectually was truly evident. His presence will be deeply missed. I will never forget the meaningful times that I had a chance to interact with him and pray that God comforts his family, friends and love ones during this difficult time. May we imitate his personality and may his legacy always remain in our hearts expressed by our actions.
    Nicola Whitley (Brazilian Scholar)

  22. Nicola Whitley (Brazilian Scholar) says:

    Nicola cont’d Because of Dean Hudson’s most appreciate generous support, I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Brazil. It was the experience of a lifetime that will forever remain with me.

  23. Siobhan E. Smith, Department of Communication says:

    Before I joined the faculty in the Communication Department at the University of Louisville, I had to go through the job interview process, of course. It was January 2009, and as a job candidate in an extremely harsh hiring environment, I was panicked. My meeting with Dean Hudson was at 7:00 in the morning, and as Al Futrell (our Chair) drove me to campus, I was horrified. I really wanted to “wow” this extremely impressive person I’d read about (and I wanted/NEEDED a job too), and I was moist in all of the places no one wants to be moist before such an interview.
    The minute I stepped into Dean Hudson’s office, I was calmed by his gentle presence and warm demeanor. He didn’t question my place in the academy, and discussed my dissertation and other research interests with me like we were old friends. I left the interview feeling renewed, refreshed, and encouraged. Not just about my dissertation, but about the path that I had chosen for my life. And what do you know, I got the job!
    In February 2011, I had the opportunity to present some of my research at Saturday Academy. There, I got to see the true beauty when one’s research, teaching, and service meld together perfectly. I also got to see Dean Hudson’s big binder, which he always carried around, yet never opened…!
    From my first step onto UofL’s campus, Dean Hudson always sought to make sure that I was happy and productive. His organized lunches for pre-tenured, African-American faculty in A&S will remain some of my happiest memories of him. I am also grateful for the time that he spent with us, mentoring, laughing, and sharing.
    Ms. Bani and Hudson family, I hope you know what a wonderful man Dean Hudson was. I know that we often took him away from you, and I appreciate that sacrifice. If I can be half the researcher and teacher he was, and provide even the tiniest bit of knowledge to the Louisville community the way that he did, I can say that I did something with my life. Though I am terribly saddened by this loss, I am blessed just by having known him.

  24. Kurt Manning (Brazilian Scholar) says:

    I am a recent Arts & Sciences graduate and first became acquainted with the brilliance of Dr. Hudson a few years ago when I read Two Centuries of Black Louisville, which he co-authored. His dedication to all of the cultures of our wonderful city and university thrived in his writings and in his actions. As a history major it was my dream to study abroad and Dr. Hudson was the main force behind the establishment of the Brazilian Studies Program, in which I was fortunate to be a part of this past summer. He supported this program and many others that have put our university at the level it is today. I would be very proud to be a part of any type of form of remembrance or dedication in the future for this great man.

  25. Blaine was an exceptional person and academic leader. I remember meeting him during his tenure as head of the Pan African Studies department and later when I came to review the department at Louisville. He was a clear-eyed visionary who never stepped backwards or down; we will celebrate him for his courage and brilliance.

    Molefi Kete Asante

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