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William Edward Nelson Jr.

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Nelson Dr. William Edward Nelson, Jr., also affectionately known as "Nick", age 72, went home to the Lord on Thursday, May 16, 2013. Dr. Nelson was born March 19, 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee to the late William E. Nelson Sr. and Mildred Swearengen Nelson Hayes. In 1958, he completed his first phase of education as graduate of the 1958 class of Douglass High School in Memphis Tennessee. Dr. Nelson continued his education at Arkansas Agricultural Mechanical & Normal College (Arkansas AM&M; now the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff - UAPB) where he received his B.A. degree in History and Government; he received his M.A. in Political Science from Clark-Atlanta University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois. Dr. Nelson held many positions over the years, but most recently he was a professor emeritus at The Ohio State University where for over 40 years he served in the Departments of African American and African Studies and Political Science. Dr. Nelson was instrumental in creating one of the first and most comprehensive programs in African American studies in the country. He is also credited with the creation of the Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center and helped to make Ohio State's Department of Political Science one of the leading producers of African American PhD's in that discipline. His love of education was deep. He has nurtured, advised and mentored many students. He lectured and taught at colleges and universities on five continents; he authored several books and received numerous awards and achievements. In 1959, Dr. Nelson became a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Gamma Delta Chapter. During his years with the fraternity he served as state, regional and national chair of the Publications Committee. In addition, he served as president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, president of the African Heritage Studies Association, and chair of the National Council for Black Studies and vice president of the American Political Science Association. Dr. Nelson leaves to cherish his memory, the love of his life and sweetheart for over 48 years, Della; son, Nick (Tiffany); grandson, Quinn; mother Mildred (Eddie); siblings, Walter, Bryant, Sandra; and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, fraternity brothers and students. Dr. Nelson was a member of Asbury North United Methodist Church for several years. A private ceremony will be held on Friday, May 24, 2013. A public tribute and memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Ohio Union, Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom, 1739 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43210. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made as donations to: The OSU/AAAS Foundation, Dr. William E. Nelson, Jr. Fund, 1480 W. Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH 43221. Arrangements entrusted to DIEHL-WHITTAKER FUNERAL SERVICE, 720 E. Long St. To sign the online guestbook, please visit
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on May 22, 2013
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Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Service
720 E Long Street Columbus, OH 43203
(614) 258-9549
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