Black Milestones in Higher Education: Terrapin Edition
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.
- 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