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First Black Woman To Earn a Ph.D In Political Science Dies

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Dr. Jewel L. Prestage, the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D from a department of political science at an American university passes away at age 82 on Friday in Houston. She is survived by her husband Dr. James L. Prestage, five children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Prestage led the development of African American Ph.D’s in political science while serving as chair of the Southern University’s department for 18 years. She graduated from the university in 1951, going on to receive a Ph.D in political science at age 22.

According the Southern University website, "Prestage was the first person to pursue research that focused on African-Amrican women legislators and the first to offer the theory of marginality to describe the political behavior of African American women."

Her accolades include the National Conference of Black Political Scientists' Fannie Lou Hamer Award, the American Political Science Association's Frank Goodnow Award, and the Southern Political Science Association's Manning Dauer Award.

"Dr. Jewel Limar Prestage devoted many years of her life to Southern University. She was a loyal and devoted graduate of Southern University. In her capacity as faculty member, department chair and dean, she directly influenced the lives of countless students and left a remarkable legacy which we are proud and privileged to witness, remember and appreciate,” said Baton Rouge campus Acting Chancellor Flandus McClinton.

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