I am a student at the University of Manchester in England, but I had the pleasure of taking a class with Dr. Coleman last semester during my study abroad at Chapel Hill. He was a wonderful man and I am so much better for having been taught by him.
Professor Coleman truly changed my life. He made me understand, for the first time, the real and lasting effects of race in America, and because of him, I began to understand the impact of my own privilege. I will never forget sitting in his office, worried and confused about being a white woman who wanted to write about racial issues. He was gentle and kind, and his encouragement gave me the confidence to write the pieces I thought mattered. Alongside being a fantastic professor, he was wickedly funny. His thoughts on love and life never failed to make me smile. He was also honest—his thoughts on the intersection of race and politics changed the way I thought about so much. I still think of them often. Thank you so much, sir; it was such an honour to be taught by you. I’ll remember your humour and heart with such fondness. Rest in Power.
I’m coming back to visit my friends in April and was so looking forward to popping my head into his office and having a chat with him. I hope this paragraph goes some way to show my appreciation for the wonderful man that he was.