News and Announcements Archive

Esteemed Alumnus Angela McKissic Samuels Dies

November 11, 2011

The School recently received word of the death of esteemed alumnus Angela McKissic Samuels. In addition to receiving the SLIS Professional Service Award, Ms. McKissic Samuels partnered with SLIS Faculty on IMLS grants which made a lasting contribution to school libraries in the Detroit Public School system. Below is her obituary by Karen Hudson Samuels.


Angela McKissic Samuels, beloved educator to legions of Detroit Public School librarians and school children, died September 24 in Albuquerque, New Mexico after suffering a brain aneurysm, she was 71.  Angela was surrounded by family and friends from around the country.

Born and raised in Detroit, Angela was the child of Joseph and Jewell Crenshaw. Angela grew up on the Westside, graduating from Northwestern High School in 1956. She attended Wayne State University earning a Specialist degree in Educational Administration and two Master’s degrees in the fields of Library Science and Education.  

A career goal of providing quality educational experiences, led Angela to move up the ranks of the Detroit Public School system, ultimately becoming the Supervisor for Detroit Schools Library Media Education Office.

Angela’s influence and administration of Detroit’s public school library system was broad; she coordinated computerization of school Library Media Centers; provided leadership in the selection of books and technological based learning materials; contributed to the growth of librarians’ district wide by hosting professional development workshops and mentored staff on how to run a district school library system. 

In her service to students Angela believed that “Making certain that school library media specialists, school library media centers and books are available to our children is a critical professional responsibility.”

Angela’s contributions earned many awards and recognition including being named Michigan’s District Library Director of the Year in 2001. Her commitment to service was evident in 2002 when Angela partnered with SLIS Professor Dian Walster to successfully re–open and staff 10 closed elementary school library media centers. 

After thirty-eight years of dedicated service as Library Media Relations Supervisor for the Detroit Public Schools, Angela retired and eventually moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband Clifford Samuels Sr.  

Upon her retirement, then Governor Jennifer Granholm issued a proclamation that read in part, “I applaud you for going above and beyond in working to provide a quality library media program for all Detroit library media centers.”

The move to New Mexico fulfilled a life long passion for Native American culture, history and artwork.  And so it was not long before long Angela nurtured an adoptive family and started to foster development of tribal libraries.

Angela lent her support and expertise to the New Mexico Tribal Libraries, including those in Santa Clara, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Acoma and San Ildefonso.  She led librarians in putting on annual benefits to raise funds to improve library services and Internet access for New Mexico tribal communities. 

Angela was known to embrace everyone who crossed her path. “She was a person who demonstrated acts of kindness and love, not just talked about it but did it” said cousin and close friend Sabrina Archie, a retired DPS special education teacher.

A memorial service was held for Angela in Albuquerque on September 25th at the offices of Albuquerque Magazine by publisher Larryl Lynch, a very close friend and member of Angela’s adopted family.  Cremation services, at Sunset Memorial Park, were held on September 27th.

On Sunday October 9th, a celebration of Angela’s was held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

Angela is survived by her husband Clifford Samuels, her children, Tracie McKissic, James E. McKissic and wife Angel, Clifford Samuels Jr. and his wife Karen, Christopher Samuels, Rochelle Mays, Paul Nieto, JR. and Larry Lynch; grandchildren, Che, Kiley, Vanessa, Rome, Kenyetta and Mainza.  Angela is also survived by her brother Joseph Crenshaw and sister Michelle Crenshaw and many other family members and friends. 

The family asks that donations be made to the New Mexico Tribal Libraries Foundation at 1413 Nicolet Place Detroit 48207.