Class of 1953
Edward Mapp has forged a dual career as a highly respected educator and one of the country’s preeminent historians of African-American films. A native New Yorker, he graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, received a B.A. from City College, an M.S. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from New York University.
For years, he was a feature columnist for Movie/TV Marketing, published in Tokyo. He has authored numerous articles and books, including “Blacks in American Films: Today and Yesterday” (1972); “Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts” (1990); “A Separate Cinema: 50 Years of Black Cast Posters” (1992), with John Kisch; and “African Americans and the Oscar” (2003), a history of the black experience in Hollywood. In 2005, he published “Wednesday at Weeksville,” a children’s book about an eventful day in the life of an 11-year-old boy and his family prior to the Civil War.
Over the years, Mapp has amassed a collection of more than a thousand vintage black-cast film posters that date back almost a century. Although the bulk of the collection is from the 1940s through the 1990s, Mapp’s first purchase was a poster from “The Lure of a Woman,” a 1921 movie that was the first black film produced in Kansas City. More recent films that are represented include works by such filmmakers as Spike Lee, John Singleton, Mario Van Peebles and the College’s own Julie Dash, also a Communications Alumni Hall of Famer.
Mapp has exhibited from the collection at institutions throughout the United States and Canada. In 1992, he was inducted into the Black Collectors Hall of Fame. Four years later, he presented his collection to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences where it became a significant addition to the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library and Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills. The Smithsonian Institution co-sponsored an exhibition of selections from the Mapp collection that toured the U.S., ending in July 2005.
His career in higher education is equally impressive, including appointments as Dean of Faculty at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Vice Chancellor of The City Colleges of Chicago. At the latter institution, he pushed for the promotion of the system’s television channel as a vehicle for adult education and GED instruction. He was a Professor of Speech and Communication at The City University of New York, retiring in 1998.
Mapp has also served on committees and boards of such organizations as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Brooklyn Board (1972-1981); Advisory Committee, National Project Center for Film and the Humanities (1974-1975); United Nations Association of New York (1975-1978); and, since 2000, the board of The Friends of Thirteen, Inc. He was elected chairman in 2005. Currently, Mapp is chairman of Channel Thirteen’s Legacy Society.
He was awarded the Townsend Harris Medal, the College’s highest post-graduate honor, in 2009.