Eward Charles Mapp was on born August 17, 1929 in Harlem, New York City, the son of Edward Cameron and Estelle Viola (Sampson) Mapp. Dr Mapp has spent his career as an honored educator, writer, and celebrated collector of Black film memorabilia. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1953, his M.S. from Columbia University in 1956, and his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from New York University in 1970 and Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), St. Martin’s College & Seminary, 2009.
After working for the New York Public Library’s Research Libraries Information Division and teaching in the Brooklyn public schools early in his career, Mapp has served as Dean of Faculty at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Vice Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, and Professor of Speech and Communication at the City University of New York, from which he retired in 1998.
Mapp’s interest and research in Black film culture has led to the publication of numerous books and articles, including a regular column in Movie/TV Marketing, the Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts (Scarecrow, 1990), A Separate Cinema: Fifty Years of Black Cast Posters with John Kisch (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992), and most recently African Americans and the Oscar (Scarecrow, 2003). Additionally, he was quite proud of his first Children’s Book “Wednesday at Weeksville”, 2005.
Dr. Mapp has also amassed a personal collection of over 1,000 black cast film posters and other memorabilia, a portion of which toured the country through 2005 as “Close Up in Black: African American Film Posters,” under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. His work in this area earned him induction into the Black Collectors Hall of Fame in 1992. The posters now remain on display at The Margaret Herrick Library at AMPAS in Beverly Hills, CA.
Between 1995 -1998 Dr Mapp gifted a significant portion of his collection to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum – the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. The collection spans the years 1921-2001 and consists of approximately 1200 posters and 0.5 linear foot of manuscript material. The posters span the years 1921-2001 and document African-American performers and directors in films intended for black audiences worldwide as well as mainstream Hollywood productions.
Dr. Mapp has received numerous honors throughout his career, including being appointed by the Mayor of New York City as Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights in 1987, a position he held for seven years. Mapp also served on the National Conference on Christians and Jews Brooklyn Board from 1972 to 1982, the Advisory Committee of the National Project Center for Film and the Humanities from 1974 to 1975 and the United Nations Association of New York Board of Directors from 1975 to 1978. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of THIRTEEN, Inc. (NYC public television station) since 2000, and was elected First Vice Chairman in 2003 and served as Chairman, 2005-2007. He was Co-Chair of THIRTEEN’S Legacy Society.
“The Good Doc” as he was fondly called by many – died peacefully on March 19, 2021 at home. He was 91 years old. He had an energetic and engaging personality, was full of stories to tell, life experiences to share and endless advice to give. He recently enjoyed a brief stint as a fashion model, he adored the arts and travel and was loved by many from all walks of life – always touching the lives of others fortunate enough to know him. He will be remembered not only for his professional accomplishments, but as a generous mentor, friend and colleague.
He is survived by his three children, Andrew, Everett, Elmer, his four grandchildren, Joseph, Edward, Liam, Basil and nephew Ronald Frank.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to THIRTEEN /WNET (PBS) at https://secure2.convio.net/wnet/site/Donation
Condolences can be left on Dr Mapp’s online guest book at The Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. Funeral service will be held privately and interment will follow at The Woodlawn Cemetery.