Professor Robert Louis Terrell was born on the 19th of July, 1943 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He was the first-born son of Samuel Terrell and Bessie Mae Terrell née Naylor. After his high school graduation, he earned a scholarship to attend Morehouse College where he majored in Sociology and History. It was there that he met Miss Venitia Lamour Sharpe†, a Music Major with a specialization in classical piano at Spelman College. The two married shortly after successfully obtaining their Bachelor degrees and eventually relocated to New York City, New York where Robert worked as a report for the New York Post. In 1967, their first and only child, Iman, was born. Shortly thereafter, the family left the East Coast and settled down in California, where Robert studied Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978, he graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a PhD in Educational Philosophy. His doctoral dissertation became the basis for what is now widely considered to be a classic in African American Studies: The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC. His academic career included professorial appointments at Saint Mary’s College of California, the University of Missouri, the University of Colorado, and New York University, as well as a host of research positions abroad in countries as diverse as Beijing, China and Nairobi, Kenya. Among his many awards, he was named a Fulbright Fellow and a National Defense Education Fellow. In 1991, he accepted a position as a full professor at California State University, Easy Bay, where he taught a diverse number of courses in mass media and communications and was eventually named Chair of the Department of Communications.
In 2014, he officially retired. However, this did not mark the end of his career. Always an avid photographer, his retirement gave the Professor Emeritus the opportunity to devote his time fully to his personal passion: photojournalism. Armed with the razor-sharp lens of his camera, he used his photography to document everyday acts of injustice. His politicized artwork became the subject of many art exhibitions and journalistic publications throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Always keenly interested in dynamic collaborations, he also routinely worked with other artists such as his long-time friend, Ms. Jean McIntosh, Instructor of Digital Media at West Valley College in California. On October 30, 2019, Professor Terrell died in his home in Santa Cruz, California after prolonged illness. His family includes his only-child, Iman; his siblings, Charles Terrell†, Jacqueline Terrell†, Patricia Terrell-Johnston, Tanya Thomas, Richard Terrell, Tara Bradford, and Sharon Holmes; as well as his nephew, Sam Terrell, and his nieces, Nakia Jones-Terrell†, Terah Faison, and Annette Blackell.
Instead of flowers, interested friends, colleagues, and former students of Professor Terrell are asked to make a donation to one of the following Santa Cruz based-charities: Housing Matters, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending homelessness <https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E193533&id=3>; or The Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center, a non-profit organization for families-in-need <https://secure.etransfer.com/EFT/BlockCode/donation1.cfm?d2org=WAFWC&d2tool=donate >. Alternatively, the family requests that donations be made to Professor Terrell’s alma mater, Morehouse College https://giving.morehouse.edu/donate.