A Tribute to the Late Dr. Sulayman Shehu Nyang

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Altaf Hussain



It was Fall 1998, here I was, at Howard University, the mecca. Walking the
historic grounds of the campus, I was tracing the footsteps of luminaries
and intellectual giants, scientists and activists, who gave birth to inventions
and social movements, and who were of African, Afro-Caribbean and African
American descent, among others. Before enrolling in the doctoral
program in the School of Social Work, I had known of Dr. Nyang but only
interacted with him in passing at a few programs. All over the world, for
nearly four decades, among Muslims, Howard University was synonymous
with Dr. Sulayman Shehu Nyang. This proud and brilliant son of Africa was
known for his Gambian roots, his prolific scholarship, his contagious smile,
his wit, his insights, his at once profound brilliance and his down to earth
demeanor, and his steady hand as Chair of the African Studies department
at Howard University. I can count with rare exception the number of times
I introduced myself as being a doctoral student, an administrator, a faculty
member and now a department chair at Howard University, and the almost
instant reaction among Muslims – Oh yeah, Dr. Nyang is at Howard.
I have never met anyone like him. That was my first reaction when I
finally got to spend time with Dr. Nyang on the campus of Howard Univer-
Altaf Husain serves as Associate Professor and Chair of the Community, Administration
and Policy Practice Concentration at the School of Social Work, Howard
University ...

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