More Than 600 Attend Funeral Services to Honor Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook ’48

Date Released: June 7, 2017


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Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook ’48 was remembered Tuesday as an inspirational educator, a champion of connecting racial and ethnic communities, and a devoted friend and family man by hundreds who gathered for his funeral services at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel.

The former president of Dillard University died in his Atlanta home on May 29. He was the first tenured African American professor at an institution of higher education in the South.

Dr. Cook left an indelible imprint on the individual lives that he touched as an educator and political scientist. More than 600 guests attended his funeral services on June 6 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Chapel. Dr. Cook was buried at Southview Cemetery of Atlanta. 

A Korean War veteran and native of Griffin, Ga., Dr. Cook taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Duke University before spending 22 and a half years as president of Dillard University and later appointed as President Emeritus by the Dillard University Board of Trustees.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Dr. Cook to the National Council on the Humanities. Sixteen years later, in 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Cook to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Duke University named the Samuel DuBois Cook Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, and the Samuel DuBois Cook Society in his honor. The Ohio State University’s Samuel DuBois Cook Summer Academy was also named after Dr. Cook in recognition of his leadership and service. 

Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr. ’75, the 10th president of Morehouse College, said Dr. Cook’s life was a journey into becoming a moral aristocrat.

“Sam was a public intellectual and a bridge builder,” Dr. Franklin said at the service Tuesday. “He played a major role in fostering positive Black-Jewish relations.  He was fearless in confronting human conceit. He knew, as GK Chesterton said, ‘The Christian life hasn’t been tried and found unwanting. It has been difficult and left untried.’”

Dr. Franklin’s message was one of 18 emotional tributes from friends and colleagues of Dr. Cook. Other tributes were made by former Ambassador Andrew J. Young; Morehouse Board of Trustees member Billye Suber Aaron; the Rev Calvin Otis Butts III ’71; and the Rev. Joseph Lowery.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sister, Christine King-Farris, also spoke about her days in college with her brother “M.L.” and Dr. Cook.

“I count it an honor to give a final tribute to my dear friend and college classmate,” said King-Farris, a 1948 Spelman College graduate. “Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook was quite a giant in stature, in intellect, in leadership, and in his love for family and friends. We all graduated together as proud members of the Class of 1948.

“We remained connected to Sam through the years, and he stuck by M.L.,” she said. “I will miss my friend and classmate.”

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Last Modified: June 13, 2017, 16:06 PM, by: Kara Walker

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