January 7, 2016

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I am deeply saddened to share with you the news that our colleague and friend Otis Franklin Madison, Lecturer in our Department of Black Studies, passed away on Tuesday, December 29, 2015.

Otis was a cornerstone of our Department of Black Studies for nearly three decades, serving as a dedicated and influential Lecturer. He was a powerful intellectual and phenomenal teacher whose career had a profound impact on countless students and colleagues. In recognition of his outstanding teaching, he was named Professor of the Year in 1992 by UC Santa Barbara’s Mortar Board.

Otis first came to our campus in 1975 when he was accepted into the doctoral program in our Department of Political Science. Over the years, he served in many capacities, including as a Teaching Assistant in both the Political Science and Black Studies departments and as a Research Fellow in our Center for Black Studies Research. He also taught courses for many years in the Summer Transitional Enrichment Program.

Otis’s research and courses reflected his interests in U.S. legal history, U.S. race relations, race relations and the law, Black American political history, and political violence. He also taught courses on Black Marxism and the Obama presidency. One of his many strengths was his ability to challenge his students to think critically and to defend their positions factually and intellectually. He also enjoyed engaging in after-class discussions with his students, cultivating the open exchange of ideas and opinions.

We send our sincerest sympathies to Otis’s wife, Joanne; sons Taiwo and Kehinde; daughters Saidaa, Shirnell, and Shermain Norton; and to the rest of his family and many friends. His passing is a great loss for our entire community, and he will be dearly missed. On Tuesday, January 12, our campus flag will be lowered to half-staff in Otis’s honor and memory.

In lieu of flowers, a fund is being established to archive Otis’s work. Donations may be made to “Otis Madison Archive Project, Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara.”


Henry T. Yang