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Black Milestones in Higher Education: Terrapin Edition November 23, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in African American Professors, African American Students, Black History, Black Students, Elaine Johnson, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Terrapins, University of Maryland.
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Go Terps!

History and Overview: The University of Maryland – College Park was founded in 1856. UM admitted it’s first Black undergraduate in 1951. Today Black students make up 13 percent of the University of Maryland ‘s 25, 857 undergraduates and 8 percent of UM’s graduate student body.

Note: All milestones listed below refer to the University of Maryland’s flagship campus at College Park.

  • 1850s — The Maryland Agricultural College (later renamed UM – College Park) opens “with slaves constructing the college’s buildings and working on the farms.” Founder Charles B. Calvert is a pro-slave unionist. (Source: University of Maryland Diversity Timeline)
  • 1859 — Benjamin Hallowell becomes the first president of the Maryland Agricultural College. An abolitionist, Hallowell accepts his appointment “on the condition that the school not use slave labor on its farms.” (Source: University of Maryland Diversity Timeline)
  • 1950 — Parren Mitchell successfully sues the then segregated University of Maryland and becomes the first African American to enroll in graduate courses at UM. Mitchell graduates with an M.A. in sociology in 1952, becoming the first Black student to complete at graduate degree at UM. In 1970 Mitchell would become the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Congress from the state of Maryland.
  • 1950 — Juanita Jackson Mitchell becomes the first African-American graduate of the University of Maryland Law School.

Juanita

Juanita Jackson Mitchell

  • 1951 — Hiram Whittle becomes the first Black undergraduate to enroll at the University of Maryland.
  • 1955 — Elaine Johnson becomes the first Black woman to enroll in UM’s undergraduate programs.
  • 1964 — The UM administration rejects the application submitted by a student group wishing to open a chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) on campus. The students reorganize as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and continue to fight against racial segregation.
  • 1965 — Billy Jones becomes the first African American basketball player at the University of Maryland, and the first Black athlete in the ACC.
  • 1967 — Black Explosion Newspaper is formed as the first African American newspaper at the University of Maryland.
  • 1968 — The African American Studies Department opens under the leadership of Mary Frances Berry and John Blassingame.
  • 1971 — The Nyumburu Cultural Center is established to serve the cultural, social and intellectual needs of Black students.
  • 1982 — John B. Slaughter becomes the first African-American Chancellor of a major state university when he is appointed chancellor of the University of Maryland.
  • 2001 — UM establishes the David C. Driskell Center For The Study of The Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and The African Diaspora<strong</strong. The center is named for the highly respected African American professor and former UM Art department chair, David C. Driskell.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Jayhawks Edition November 22, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in African American Professors, African American Students, Black Faculty, Black History, Black PhDs, Black Students, Blogroll, Jayhawks, Kansas.
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Jayhawks

The University of Kansas opened its doors on September 12, 1866 to an entering class of 55. Ten years later KU admitted its first African American student. It was not until 1885, however, that the first Black enrollee would graduate from the University.

Today Black students make up between 3 and 4 percent of KU’s 28,890 undergraduates, and Black professors make up about 3 percent of the KU faculty. In 2006, the Black graduation rate at KU was 38 percent.

  • 1876 — Lizzie Ann Smith becomes the first African American student to enroll at the University of Kansas.
  • 1885 — Blanche K. Bruce becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Kansas.*
  • 1936 — John B. McLendon, Jr. becomes the first African American student at the University of Kansas to earn a degree in physical education .
  • 1941 — Edward Vernon Williams becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Kansas Medical School.
  • 1952 — LaVannes Squires becomes the first African American basketball player at KU. C. Kermit Phelps becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from KU.
  • 1954 — Maurice King becomes the first African American starter in KU basketball history.
  • 1968 — Black Student Union is established on the KU campus.
  • 1970 — Elmer C. Jackson, Jr. becomes the first African American appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents. In 1975 he becomes the first Black Regents chair.
  • 1999 — Andrew B. Williams becomes the first African American to graduate from KU with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.

*This Blanche K. Bruce is Blanche Ketene Bruce, not to be confused with Blanche Kelso Bruce, the former slave who went on to become the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Tiger Edition November 21, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in African American Professors, African American Students, Black Faculty, Black History, Black Students, Blogroll, Daphne LaSalle, Higher Education, Louisiana State, LSU, Pinkie Gordon Lane, race.
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lsu tigers

“LSU has nine black graduate students getting Ph.D.s in chemistry this year,” he said. “That’s more than Harvard has had in 370 years!” –Henry Louis Gates, Jr., speaking at Louisiana State University in 2000

The institution that would become LSU first opened its doors in 1860. The Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana was located near Pineville. The Seminary was closed twice during the Civil War, but re-opened when the war was over. The Pineville campus building burned in mid-October of 1869, but re-opend two weeks later in Baton Rouge, changing its name to The Louisiana State University one year later.

Today, Roughly 9% of LSU’s 30,000 students are Black. The proportion of Black faculty is much lower, at only 3.4 percent of the total professorate.

  • 1946 — African Americans attempt to enroll at Louisiana State University, but are rejected.
  • 1953 — A. P. Tureaud, Jr. enrolls in LSU under court order, becoming the first African American admitted to the school. The order is overturned by a higher court, however, and he is forced to withdraw. Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court would reverse the higher court’s ruling; but Tureaud, Jr. would choose to continue his studies at Xavier University, a historically Black institution.
  • 1954 — Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial becomes the first African American to earn a law degree at LSU. Morial would go on to become the first African American mayor of New Orleans (1977).
  • 1957 — Ollie H. Burns becomes the first African American to graduate from LSU with an M.S. in Library Science.
  • 1961 — Pearl Andrews becomes LSU’s first Black student to graduate with an M.Ed.
  • 1964 — Federal courts mandate full intergration for LSU. Freya Anderson Rivers becomes the first Black woman to enroll in LSU as an undergraduate. Maxine Crump becomes the first Black student (male or female) to live in a Louisiana State University residence hall.
  • 1967 — Poet and scholar Pinkie Gordon Lane becomes the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at LSU (English).
  • 1971 — Collis Temple Jr. becomes the first African American basketball player at LSU.
  • 1972 — Kerry Pourciau becomes the first African American to serve as student body president of LSU. Harambee House Black student center is established on the LSU campus.
  • 1973 — Lora O. Hinton, Jr. becomes LSU’s first African American varsity letterman in football. He is also the first African American to attend LSU on a football scholarship. Albert J. Doucette, Jr. becomes the first African American to graduate from the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources (Masters in Fisheries).
  • 1976 — Julian T. White becomes the first Black professor at LSU (Architecture). Christine Minor becomes the first Black female tenured professor at LSU.
  • 1989 — Carolyn Collins becomes LSU’s first African American dean of an academic college.
  • 1991 — Renée Boutte becomes LSU’s first African American homecoming queen. Minority Services office is established (in 1993 it would become the Office of Multicultural Affairs).
  • 1998 — Herb Tyler becomes LSU’s first African American quarterback.
  • 2002 — Daphne LaSalle becomes the first Black female Corps Commander for the LSU Corps of Cadets. Ebony Spikes becomes the first Black student to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship.
  • 2006 — Natasha U. Francis becomes the first Black student to complete the LSU joint MBA/JD program. The Black Faculty Association forms.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Black Student Athletes Outperform Black Students Overall November 7, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in Achivement Gap, African American Students, Black Students, Blogroll, graduation rates, race, Student Athletes.
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It seems that hard work on the playing field does translate into hard work in the classroom.

The current issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that among all but one demographic (white males), athletes at Division I institutions are graduating at higher rates than their non-athlete peers, most often by double-digit proportions. Consider the statistics for Black student athletes:

Male African-American athletes graduated at a rate of 49 percent, 10 percentage points higher than the rate for male African-American students over all. For female African-American athletes, the rate was 63 percent, 13 percentage points higher than the rate for their counterparts in the student body at large.

These statistics were compiled based on the number of students who “who began college as freshmen in the 2000-1 academic year,” and who “were completing their degrees within six years of enrolling.”

These numbers are a refreshing antidote to the reports of student-athlete  misconduct and academic failure that dominate coverage of this much-storied demographic.

For African Americans, these numbers should hold particular interest. For my part, I would encourage all who are interested in Black educational achievement to consider these statistics alongside other related findings that show increased academic engagement and higher completion rates among high school students who are involved in music and art programs. Considered in light of The Chronicle‘s findings on student-athlete success, the path for advocates of Black educational progress seems clear. Students who have a passion for a non-academic area — art, music, drama, sports — will often transfer the focus, work habits, time management skills, and confidence essential for success and pleasure in the extracurricular field to their academic subjects.

…just a little good news about U.S. Blacks in higher education…

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Bulldog Edition November 4, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in African American Students, Black History, Black PhDs, Black Students, Edward Bouchet, Higher Education, race, racism, Yale, Yale Divnity School, Yale Medical School.
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Handsome Dan

History and Overview: The school that would become Yale University was founded in 1701 as an institution, “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences [and] through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” In 1718 the school was named for Elihu Yale, a Welsh merchant whose contributions helped to insure it’s prosperity. Yale graduated its first African American student in 1847, and its first African American undergraduate in 1872.

Between the mid-1920s and the mid-1960s Yale practiced a from of de-facto segregation that reduced the already scant numbers of Black undergraduates to almost none. In the mid-1960s, though, legendary University President Kingman Brewster announced plans to re-open the college to Black students and other students of color, declaring that, “Yale will cease to be a finishing school on Long Island Sound and become a place that better reflects the demographic and regional composition of the country at large.”

Today, approximately 400 of Yale’s roughly 5300 undergraduates identify as Black or African American.

Although it is a northern institution, Yale’s history is deeply entertwined with the history of U.S. chattel slavery. Click HERE to see my blog post on this subjet.

Black Milestones at Yale University:

  • 1847 — Dr. Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed becomes the first African American to graduate from Yale Medical School.
  • 1874 — Edward Bouchet becomes the first African American to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Yale and the first African American in the United States to be nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society (Bouchet was ranked 6th in his class out of over 120 students). Solomon M. Coles, a former slave, becomes the first African American to graduate from Yale Divinity School. In 1872 he had become the first African American to enroll in Yale Divinity School.
  • 1876 — Edward Bouchet earns a doctorate in Physics, becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Yale or any other American university. He also becomes only the 6th American of any ethnicity to earn a Ph.D. in Physics.
  • 1903 — Thomas Nelson Baker becomes the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale.
  • 1904 — Yale Divinity School graduates its first African Student, Oreshatekeh Faduma of Sierra Leone, a member of the Colored Yale Quartet.
  • 1926 — Otelia Cromwell completes her Ph.D. and becomes the first Black woman to earn a degree from Yale.
  • 1931 — Jane Matilda Bolin becomes the first African American woman to graduate form Yale Law School. She would later become the first Black woman judge in the United States.
  • 1949 — Evelyn Boyd Granville earns a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale, becoming one of the first two Black women to earn doctorates in this field, both in 1949 (the other is Marjorie Lee Browne, at the University of Michigan).
  • 1962 — Michael G. Cooke (B.A., Yale; M.A., Ph.D., UC Berkeley) is appointed an instructor in the English Department, becoming the first African American told hold tenure in Yale 261-year history.
  • 1967 — The Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY) is founded “in response to an urgent need for collective action to counter injustice and a desire to address the issues facing Black students” (source: BSAY website).
  • 1971 — Michael G. Cooke is appointed the Bird White Housum Professor of Literature, becoming the first African American to hold tenure at Yale.
  • 1973 — More Black students matriculate at Yale than in any year since.
  • 2007 — Paulette McCrae becomes the first African American to graduate from Yale with a Ph.D. in Neurobiology.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

A Faulty Explanation for the Gender Gap in Black Educational Attainment November 3, 2007

Posted by twilightandreason in African American Students, Black Students, Current Events, gender gap, graduation rates, Higher Education, Hip Hop, Malik Salaam, Masculinity.
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Allow me to share with you this excerpt from a recent article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education (“Five Men, Five Different Views on Educating Black Males” by Cassie M. Chew):

Black males are discovering that they don’t need to ‘hit the books’ in order to make a living, and this is the reason behind recent statistics that report that as many as half of them drop out of high school and don’t pursue a college education. 

There was a time when we were always taught that education was for us to get a good job, buy a house, raise a family — education doesn’t play the necessary role in those things any longer to young Black men,” according to poet, writer and filmmaker Malik Salaam.

Salaam was a member of a panel of five men who gave passionate, albeit divergent, views on how to make education a priority among today’s Black males during a forum convened by U.S. House Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference last month. 

During his opening statement, Johnson cited statistics from the Schott Foundation for Public Education’s December 2006 report, “A Positive Future for Black Males,” which found only 42 percent of Black males entering ninth grade will graduate. The report also found that Black students, who comprise 17 percent of public school students, make up 41 percent of special education placements, and 85 percent of these students, are boys.

“Instead of education being the foundation for economic stability, success in the music and entertainment businesses and the sale of illegal drugs has enabled some young Black men without high school diplomas to have nice homes and nice cars,” said Salaam, a poet featured on the HBO series “Def Poetry.”

“We have to market education as something that builds the self — that builds the inner person, that builds you as a human being — and get away from the material aspect of it because they can replace that easily with hip hop music and crack cocaine,” Salaam said.

I am disappointed by Salaam’s comments because they fail to make a distinction between perception and reality. While I agree that it is important for students to understand that the college experience is enriching and transforming in ways that cannot be immediately measured through the size of one’s paycheck, I take great issue with his suggestion that the reason teachers and advocates need to “market” higher education in this way (for its capacity to “build the self”) is because young Black men “can easily replace that [the economic benefits of higher education] with hip hop music and crack cocaine.” 

While some young African American men may believe that selling drugs or becoming involved in the entertainment industry are viable alternatives paths to upward mobility, it is highly unlikely that “Black males are discovering that they don’t need to ‘hit the books’ in order to make a living.” Few who are involved in the drug trade ever make enough money to provide for even their own financial security (let alone their children’s or spouses’), and success as an entertainer is as statistically unlikely today as it has ever been. 

Add to this the fact that those who find success “behind the scenes” of the music, television, and film industries (a much more attainable goal) are most often college-educated professionals (especially in the case of African Americans), and the folly of even the slightest suggestion that there is validity to some young (and, in many cases, underserved) Black men’s unrealistic investment in “making it” in the industry without education or formal training is magnified.

I am an advocate for those young folks who take an informed approached to work in the entertainment world – who pursue appropriate training and study, who educate themselves about their field, and who enter the entertainment workforce with a nuanced understanding of the steps required to truly gain job satisfaction and economic security within that industry.

My heart breaks, though, for the scores young men who eschew formal education partially due to their ill-informed belief that they will be discovered, so to speak, and propelled into the ranks of stardom>

Posted by Ajuan Mance