Obituary: Kwame McDonald, lifelong teacher and activist

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Kwame McDonald, 80, died of cancer in St. Paul Wednesday after a long life of teaching and changing lives.

In 1968, James Cornell McDonald traveled to Africa to teach and study at the University of Ghana, according to the Star Tribune.

His son, Mitchell McDonald, told the Star Tribune that he went to Ghana to be among black people who were in charge of things. He also said that it helped his father figure out who he truly was.

McDonald changed his name to Kwame which means "born on Saturday" in Ghanaian, according to the Star Tribune.

McDonald was from Madison, Wis. And he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, according to the Star Tribune.

After he married Mary Palmer in 1956, he worked for the Urban League in Milwaukee and later came to Minnesota to work with Gov. Elmer L. Anderson and run Minnesota's Commission Against Discrimination, according to the Star Tribune.

In Minnesota, McDonald held numerous positions from working on a crime prevention council, to hosting a cable TV show, to teaching at local schools, according to the Star Tribune.

His son told the Star Tribune that his father was his "dad, brother, best friend, all rolled into one."

Just a few weeks ago, 300 people gathered at St. Paul Central High School to honor McDonald and his lifetime achievements as a "teacher, administrator, mentor, coach, sportswriter, broadcaster and activist," as Charles Hallman wrote for the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder. Among the crowd was Tubby Smith, according to Hallman.
According to the Star Tribune,

McDonald also worked at colleges in North Carolina, New York and Washington, D.C.

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This page contains a single entry by Carolyn Lubben published on November 6, 2011 4:53 PM.

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