Black Milestones in Higher Education: Tiger Edition
“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
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