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Black Milestones in Higher Education: Hoosier Edition July 18, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in Academia, African American Students, African Americans, Black History, Black PhDs, Black Students, Blogroll, Higher Education, Indiana University, race.


History and Overview: The first students arrived on the campus of Indiana University in 1824. The first Black student to earn a degree from this institution graduated in 1895. Since then over 13,000 African Americans have graduated from IU.

As of fall 2006 IU enrolled 29,828 undergraduates and over 8500 graduate and professional degree students at it’s flagship campus in Bloomington, for a total enrollment of approximately 38,200. 1,699 of those students are Black.

Black Milestones at Indiana University:

  • 1893 — Preston Eagleson integrates IU athletics by becoming the first Black student to play sports for the University (football, 3 seasons).
  • 1895 — Marcellus Neal becomes the first African American student to graduate from Indiana University (B.A. in Mathematics).
  • 1906 — Preston Eagleson becomes the first African American to earn a master’s degree at IU (M.A., Philosophy).
  • 1911 — On the evening of January 5, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. (the nation’s second oldest African American fraternity) is founded by then Indiana University students Elder Watson Diggs; John Milton Lee; Byron K. Armstrong; Guy Levis Grant; Ezra D. Alexander; Henry T. Asher; Marcus P. Blakemore; Paul W. Caine; Edward G. Irvin and George W. Edmonds (the Reverend Founders).
  • 1919 — Frances Elizabeth Marshall becomes the first African American woman to graduate from Indiana University (B.A. in English).
  • 1947 — IU’s Bill Garrett becomes the Big Ten’s first African American basketball player.
  • 1959 — Richard Johnson becomes IU’s first tenured African American professor (Music). In the same year undergraduate Nancy Streets becomes the first African American “Miss IU.”
  • 1960 — Thomas Atkins becomes IU’s first Black Student Body President and the first African American in the Big Ten to hold that post.
  • 1981 — Edward High becomes the first African American president of the IU Alumni Association.
  • 1997 — Cora Smith Breckenridge becomes the first African American on the IU Board of Trustees.


Marcellus Neal and Frances Elizabeth Marshall,

the first African American man and the first African American

woman to graduate from IU




Posted by Ajuan Mance



1. Michael Bradley - December 17, 2007

I think a major milestone is missed. On January 5, 1911 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. was founded. One of the most prestigious fraternities in the world and it was founded at Indiana University. Some of the most notable men of our time have been Kappa men

2. twilightandreason - December 18, 2007

Thank you Michael! I’ll be sure to add this to my post…and to the Black Milestones in Higher Education timeline on twilightandreason.com.

3. Kathleen C. Mance - May 26, 2008

You have established yourself as a first class blogger. Your humane philosophy, your capacity for understanding life, and your tireless efforts to twilightandreason endear you to all of us who frequent this site.

4. Bradley D. Cook - February 20, 2013

Just a note about Bill Garrett being the first African-American basketball player in The Big Ten. This was thought to be true for many decades, but it has been discovered that Richard Culberson played at Iowa during the 1944-45 and 1945-46 seasons.

Thank You,
Bradley D. Cook
Indiana University Archives

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