Martia Graham Goodson was born in Georgia in 1943 to Martin and Jamie Graham. Martia spent most of her youth in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduating from Charles Sumner High School in St. Louis, Martia attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, graduating with degree in History.
She later obtained a master’s degree in Sociology from Rutgers University and a doctorate in History from Union Graduate School. Martia married Edward Goodson in 1971 in New York City and they had two children, Jamie and Malik.
Most of Martia’s career was spent teaching at Baruch College, starting in 1974. After 33 years, she retired as an Associate Professor in the Department of Black and Hispanic Studies. Dr. Goodson published several books, including Chronicles of Faith: The Autobiography of Frederick D. Patterson, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and most recently, Church Ladies: Untold Stories of Harlem Women in the Powell Era.
She also was the author of New York’s African Burial Ground, an official guide to the cemetery of fifteen thousand Africans enslaved in colonial lower Manhattan. An oral historian, Dr. Goodson authored numerous articles on oral history, black higher education and medical botany.
Martia was a proud and active member of Abyssinian Baptist Church, which she joined in the late 1980s. She was active in numerous ministries, most notably serving as Chair of the Archives and History Ministry for over 20 years.
Martia’s passions included music and traveling. Her extensive music collection could often be heard playing in her house, and she loved to dance. She enjoyed spending time in Brazil and traveled there on numerous occasions to several cities, making dozens of friends.
A loving mother to her two children, Martia sacrificed early and often and played an active role in ensuring their educational development. The love and support shown to her children was extended to her granddaughter Malerie, whom she brought on many travels, including to Jamaica.
On July 28, 2018, Martia passed from labor to reward. She is survived by her aunt Ruth Louise Graham Ray, daughter Jamie, son Malik, daughter-in-law Shannon, granddaughter, Malerie, and numerous cousins and extended family.