Dr. Amelia Elizabeth Blyden (nee Kendrick) of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 92, passed away peacefully on December 8th, 2020 surrounded by all her children. She was born on May 19th 1928 in Worcester, Massachusetts to the late Frank and Henrietta (Maund) Kendrick. Her father Frank, a World War I veteran was from Augusta, Georgia and her mother from New York City. Her brother Richard Kendrick, a Korean War veteran, predeceased her in 2008. She married the late Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden III, an educator and diplomat from Sierra Leone, West Africa who she met at Jethro Memorial Presbyterian Church in Atlantic City, NJ. She was a loving and devoted mother to Babatunde Blyden (predeceased), Isa Blyden, Bai-Bureh Blyden, Fenda Blyden-Akiwumi, Henrietta Blyden, Eluem Blyden, Eddie Blyden and Nemata Blyden-Bickersteth; sons and daughters-in law, Glenys Blyden, Akitoye Akiwumi, Christopher Bickersteth, and a caring grandmother to several grandchildren & great-grandchildren. She was also a great friend and colleague.
Amelia Blyden graduated with a B.A. in Music Education (Piano concentration) from Boston University in 1949 after which she was hired to teach in Atlantic City, NJ as part of a school racial integration program. Amelia travelled around the world with her husband raising her children in the United States, Africa, Europe and the former Soviet Union. She returned to the United States in the 1970s and obtained an M.A. (1978), M.Ed. (1981) and Ed.D. (1984) from Teachers College, Columbia University in Special Education and taught, concurrently at the New York City Board of Education-Center for Multiple Handicapped Children, Manhattan. She was Professor Emerita at The College of New Jersey, formerly Trenton State University where for 14 years she taught and supervised aspiring teachers in the Department of Special Education. She was elected to The College of New Jersey Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Amelia Blyden was a strong advocate for integrating cultural diversity in the special education curriculum and handicapped people into the mainstream of their communities. She served as President of the New Jersey State Federation Council for Exceptional Children from 1987-1989. She was on the board of The Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), New Jersey Inc. and was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award for her contributions to its Citizen Advocacy Program in 1997. This was followed in 2000, with the Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Trenton, NJ for being a constant and persistent advocate for a positive multicultural climate in curricula, strategies, job opportunities, educational opportunities, recognition and funding for minorities with disabilities. Amelia Blyden left behind a tremendous legacy and will be fondly remembered.