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In memoriam, Angel David Nieves

Angel David Nieves passed on December 5, 2023. Angel served on the ACH Executive Council from 2019-2021. While on the exec, Angel was involved with the mentoring program. Most recently, Angel was Dean’s Professor of Public and Digital Humanities and Professor of Africana Studies and History and Director of Public Humanities at Northeastern University. For many years prior, he co-directed the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) at Hamilton College, where his beloved husband, Richard Foote, an architect who passed earlier this year, designed the space for the DHi Collaboratory.

Angel was a defining thinker and maker in digital humanities. He is known best for his innovative work on 3D spatial histories and models of sites in apartheid South Africa, recovering stories, including those of queer histories, erased by the apartheid-era regime. Angel was especially proud of his first book, An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South, which Richard edited. 

Angel’s contributions to African diaspora digital humanities were formative in moving the broader field of digital humanities forwards to create space for voices and stories that have gone unheard. His commitment to challenging hierarchical power dynamics and to supporting opportunities in digital humanities for others is evident in his vast body of work, including the edited collection People, Practice, Power: Institutions and Infrastructures at the Interstices for the Debates in the Digital Humanities series at the University of Minnesota Press and, most recently, Reckonings, a Boston public history platform for community archivists, supported by the Mellon Foundation. Angel was also one of the creators of DHQuest, which modeled the creation of digital humanities centers in a playful, creative way.

Aside from his substantial academic achievements, Angel was a kind person whose emails always began with an enthusiastic “Howz’it?” — and he really wanted to know how you were. He was quick to offer support, wisdom, and encouragement to his colleagues. Angel brought an open mind and an open heart to his interactions with the digital humanities community. While he was not afraid to fiercely advocate for his beliefs in the transformative possibilities of digital humanities, he modeled how to do that with collegiality and professionalism. 

We republish, with slight modification, this reflection that was written by Roopika Risam and Quinn Dombrowski on 8 December 2023. We join our colleagues in remembering and honouring our friend. The co-presidents of ACH invite people who wish to share a few words about Angel to send them to They will be added to the ACH post.