Dr. Mae C. King, Professor Emerita of Political Science at Howard University, died November 4, 2022. She was the first African American Senior Staff Associate of the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Mae King "paved the way for a generation of Black political scientists generally, and Black female political scientists particularly", Sherri L. Wallace et al. wrote and that she "has made a significant contribution to the modern Black Liberation Movement, and to other fields of study, including African studies, Black studies, and Black women's studies. King’s article, “Oppression and Power: The Unique Status of the Black Woman in the American Political System,” (Social Science Quarterly, 1975) is one of the classics in field of political science and widely anthologized.
King is the namesake for an award given by the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics. Each year, the Mae C. King Distinguished Paper Award on Women, Gender, and Black Politics recognizes "the best paper presented by a political scientist on women, gender and Black Politics at a national or regional Political Science conference in the past academic year".
Her pioneering spirit and guidance led her, in 1970, to work with other African American political scientists including, Dr. Jewel Prestage, to found the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
Dr. King was a former President of the International Association of Black Professionals in International Affairs and VicePresident of the African Heritage Studies Association.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, she was trained by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in nonviolent direct action. King fought in the civil rights movement, while a student at Bishop College, Marshall, Texas. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Idaho in 1968.
King is widely known in political science academic circles, both in the US and internationally, for her extensive research and teaching in the areas of African foreign policy and development, and Nigerian local government. In addition to teaching Political Science at Howard University, she taught political science for fourteen years while an Associate Professor at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, and served as a Visiting Scholar at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of International Studies. Early in her career, she was on the faculty of Texas Southern University. Dr. King has published many articles in scholarly journals. Her seminal works include Localism and Nation Building (Spectrum Books, 1988), and Basic Currents of Nigerian Foreign Policy (Howard University Press, 1996).
She will be mourned by family, friends, colleagues, and many students, both in the United States and in Nigeria.