Dr. Pellom McDaniels III, the Curator of African American Collections in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University, passed away suddenly the morning of Sunday, April 19, in his Decatur home at 52-years-old.

“We are heartbroken,” said Navvab McDaniels, his wife. “He was such a force, and the most amazing, father, husband, and person that I knew.”

“When people asked me about Pellom, I always smiled, saying ‘I really admire him’. He was fabulous, loving and passionate about his work….he was a tremendous partner and friend.”

McDaniels will be laid to rest at the historic Westview Cemetery on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in a graveside service for his family. A larger celebration of his life will be held when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

A curator at Emory since August 2012, McDaniels came to the university after serving as an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

“The depth of our sorrow and grief at Pellom’s passing is matched only by our boundless appreciation and admiration for the tremendous gifts and contributions Pellom brought to his life’s work to elevate and celebrate African American history,” said Rose Library director Jennifer Gunter King.

“The Rose Library and the world have lost a giant of a scholar and friend. Pellom’s vision is well established and will continue to guide the future of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.”

Overtime he authored several books, including “Porter, Steward Citizen: An African American’s Memoir of World War I (2017),” “The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy (2013)” and has contributed to essays to anthologies such as “Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sports Pioneers (2017),” “The Olympics and Philosophy (2012),” and “All Stars and Movie Stars: Sports in Film History (2010).”

The San Jose, California native originally earned his post-graduate degrees at Emory when he joined a cohort at the Graduate Institute for the Liberal Arts, where he received both a Master of Arts (2006) and a doctorate degree (2007) in American Studies.

He also met his mentor at Emory, the late Dr. Rudolph Byrd, who was serving as the director of African American Studies and Founder of the James Weldon Johnson Institute of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University.

He began his journey in academia at Oregon State University in Corvallis, which he attended on a football scholar that eventually led to him becoming a professional football player.

It was McDaniels’ previous career in the NFL that brought him to Atlanta, which consist of six years with the Kansas City Chiefs (1993-1998) and two with the Atlanta Falcons (1999-2000).

McDaniels is survived by his wife Navvab McDaniels, and children Ellington and Sofia.

(Photo: Courtesy of Emory University)

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