Black History Month events highlight Dailey’s contributions to UTEP


Special to The Prospector

Maceo Crenshaw Dailey, Jr. Ph.D., the late director of the African American Studies Program.

Amanda Guillen , Editor-In-Chief

The university’s African American Studies Program has put together a multitude of events throughout Black History Month, with the last event being held on March 1.

The program has put together the events without a familiar face, Maceo Crenshaw Dailey, Jr. Ph.D., the late director of the African American Studies Program.

Dailey died last year on Oct. 11 at the age of 72.

His death came as surprise to many since Dailey was still very active in his role as the director of the African American Studies Program and was still working on two big projects that he didn’t see completed.

As of now, a replacement for Dailey’s position has not been named and information as to when a new director will be appointed has not been disclosed.

Selfa Chew-Melendez Ph.D., history professor and interim African American Studies director, was Dailey’s student and he was also her mentor and director for her dissertation. She said Dailey worked until the very end.

“He was so committed to his work that he didn’t stop,” Chew-Melendez said.

The projects Dailey worked on before his death were the series focusing on Race, Authority and Violence in 21st Century America and the Black History Month festivities held at UTEP.

Chew-Melendez said Dailey also expressed the importance of not only Black History Month, but the importance of the African American community.

“He always said that Black History Month is a period in which we open our home for people to see how far we have come and what we should be proud of and also what needs to be done in order to achieve equality as a community,” Chew-Melendez said.

In his close to 10 years at UTEP and in El Paso, Dailey made a name for himself in both communities.

Dailey founded the African American Studies Program at UTEP and acted as its director until his death. As both his student and colleague, Chew-Melendez said he always made it a point to listen to students and was a genuine man who worked hard.

“He was very proud of the culture of African Americans and was very proud of all cultures and appreciated the collaboration between racial borders and racial lines to fight for social justice,” Chew-Melendez said. “He was a very caring person and excellent human being and he also approached students and respected their personalities and always tried to assist them with their goals.”

Director of the Student Engagement and Leadership Center, Corey Bailey, said that his connection with Dailey was instant. When he came to UTEP, someone made sure that they were in contact because of the similarities that they shared.

Both Bailey and Dailey are from Maryland and both are very familiar with New York, as Dailey taught at New York University before coming to El Paso.

“To describe impact and Dr. Dailey in one sentence is hard to measure impact that is so vast,” Bailey said. “You can tell his reach was far beyond his office.”

On Sunday, Feb. 21, the annual Gospel Explosion will be held in the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall and will pay homage to Dailey.

“We tried to build him into the program,” Bailey said.

Although Dailey passed before the committee could plan the event, Bailey said that he indirectly had an impact on the program.

The program is free and open to the public, and Bailey encouraged students and anyone in the El Paso community to come and celebrate.

“Regardless of spiritual faith, we welcome folks to come out and be around people who respect and love this man,” Bailey said.

For more on the Gospel Explosion turn to page 12.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected].