Dr. Byrdie Larkin, 1952-2019
It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Dr. Byrdie Larkin, a long-time member of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Dr. Larkin died unexpectedly in her home on June 2. She previously served on NCOBPS’s Executive Council and W.E.B. DuBois Book Award Committee, as well as the Executive Board of the Alabama Political Science Association.
Dr. Larkin was a proud graduate of Clark Atlanta University’s doctoral program in political science. She retired in 2016 after a four-decade career at Alabama State University. She was the former chair of ASU’s Department of History and Political Science. An advocate for gender equity in higher education, she was the only tenured woman in her department.
For many journalists in Alabama, Dr. Larkin was the principal expert on racial policy and black politics in the state. Her insight on Alabama politics can be found in Time, Tuscaloosa News, Montgomery Advertiser, and Associated Press. She also served on the Advisory Board of Endarch: Journal of Political Research.
Although trained in political science, Dr. Larkin spent her retirement years working on creative writing projects. Her 2017 novel, Reservoir, reflected her abiding faith, love of HBCUs, and life-long ties to Alabama. Her previous book, That Our Faith May Be Tested, was a collection of spiritual testimonies about her childhood, family, and challenges as a young professor.
NCOBPS remembers Dr. Larkin for her brilliance, kind-heartedness, and down-home sensibilities. We will truly miss having Dr. Larkin and her sister at our annual meetings. We send condolences to the Larkin family, ASU, and her home church, Mt. Gillard Baptist Church in Montgomery. Sympathy cards and other correspondences can be sent to her sister, Lula Darnell Larkin, 118 Harold Street, Troy, Alabama 36081.
Sekou Franklin, President