Tony Martin, professor emeritus at Wellesley College, Boston, died on Thursday night at the West Shore Medical Private Hospital, Cocorite. Martin, 70, was a noted scholar on Marcus Garvey and author and editor of 14 books. Martin's cousin Patricia Dyer, his only relative in T&T, told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday she did not wish to disclose the cause of death. Martin's illness was sudden and his consequent death was shocking, she added.
Martin is survived by his brother Henry Martin and son Shabaka Martin. Dyer described her cousin as very warm, respectful and intelligent and said he would be missed. Emancipation Support Committee chairman Khafra Kambon told the T&T Guardian Martin checked himself into the hospital on Wednesday. Kambon was a close friend of Martin's and was at his bedside at until 5 pm on Thursday.
When he left, Martin was unresponsive, said Kambon. Still, he said the news of Martin's death later that night was unexpected. Kambon said Martin was both a scholar and an activist. "He was a tremendous and meticulous researcher and his works surpass anything else that has been written about Marcus Garvey," he said.
He added that Martin was also generous in spirit and very committed to the development of young people. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
Tony Martin's career
Martin taught at Wellesley College from 1973-2007 in the Africana Studies department, of which he was a founding member. His most recent book, Caribbean History: From Pre-Colonial Origins to the Present, was published last year. Other institutions where he worked included the University of Michigan, Brown University, Cipriani Labour College and UWI, St Augustine.
His most notable publication was Race First: the Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1976). Martin's scholarship also caused much controversy, particularly his work on the involvement of Jews in the transatlantic slave trade.