Robert Grayson McGuire III was killed on August 16 in an automobile accident near Frogmore, S.C. This tragic event cut short a brilliant academic career in full stride toward its zenith and deprived our Class of one of her most gifted sons.
After graduation, Mick continued his studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies from which he received a master's degree in Soviet studies in 1961. He then began a four-year period of service with the Peace Corps. For the first two years he was a volunteer visiting lecturer in international relations at the University of Rajdhani in what is now Bangladesh. He then served as an evaluation officer on personnel matters and made several inspection visits to North and West Africa. These studies and travels resulted in his becoming fluent in French, Russian, and Bengali.
He began his teaching career at Franconia College in New Hampshire in 1968 after completing the course work toward his doctorate. He returned to Dartmouth in 1969 where he became chairman and founding coordinator of the College's Black Studies program with the rank of assistant professor. This was a very critical time for the College as there was a significant increase in the numbers of black students during the late sixties. As one of the few black faculty members at that lime, Mick played on important role as a resource person and advisor to minority students and provided a much needed black perspective in policy and curriculum developments.
The opportunity to join the faculty of Howard University arose in 1971 and the McGuire family relocated to Mick's native Washington, D.C., from their home in Thetford Center, Vt. This gave him the chance to pursue his interest in black political protest in the context of a leading black university and to add his teaching skills to the institution's Afro-American Studies Department. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1974 in political science. For the past year, he was a Public Policy Research Fellow at the Joint Center for Political Studies on a project funded by the Ford Foundation. He had just completed his book entitled Black Social and Political Organization in Washington, D.C. 1900 to 1975 at the time of his death and was preparing to resume his full-time teaching responsibilities in the fields of Pan-African thought and politics and Afro-American studies.
A major in English at Dartmouth was complemented by his activities in the Human Rights Society and the Newman Club. He was also secretary of both the Pi Lambda Phi and the Kappa Phi Kappa fraternities. He entered the College, from which his father graduated in 1932, after preparatory education at St. John's College High School in Washington. He continued his interest in Dartmouth affairs and organized several activities involving black alumni in the District of Columbia area. He also found time for significant involvement in community activities which reflected his concerns for education and the social and economic development of black people. He was chairman of the board of directors of Washington's Midtown Montessori School and a board member of the Negro Student Fund in D.C. He was in South Carolina in August for a board executive committee meeting of Penn Community Services, Inc., a community development corporation, which was established as the Port Royal Experiment in 1862 to resettle freed slaves. His professional affiliations included the African Heritage Studies Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
Mick regarded his academic and personal involvement in the preservation and advancement of the rich black cultural experience in this country and in the Afro-Caribbean community as the natural outgrowth of the familial, personal, and ideological influences which had shaped his own life. He paid moving homage to these sources of inspiration in the foreword to his book, Streams of Consciousness: Continuity in Black Political Protest which will be published this fall. The tribute begins with Mick's acknowledgement of his debt "To the generations of black men and women whose struggles have set the context in which we live and whose strength provides inspiration for us to move into the future" and includes words of admiration, reverence and love for his family, friends, and associates. Fittingly, these beautiful passages were read as a form of eulogy at the funeral service in late August.
The Class joins Mick’s many friends and colleagues in expressing its collective sympathy to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. McGuire, Jr., to Georgianna and their sons Eric and Matthews; and to the rest of his family. We will remember him fondly for all that he was even as we wonder, sadly, what he was yet to be.