Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Big Red Edition

January 21st, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

Big Red

History and Overview: Cornell University was founded in 1865, the same year that the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended slavery in the United States. Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell first awarded a bachelor’s degree to a Black student in 1897. In 2005, just under 5% of Cornell’s 13,000 undergraduates were Black studentss.

Black Milestones at Cornell University:

  • 1892 — Edward Brooks completes a law degree and becomes the first African American to earn a diploma from Cornell University.
  • 1897 — Sarah Winifred Brown becomes the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.
  • 1899 — Nancy Brown, sister of Sarah Winifred Brown (above) becomes the first African American legacy student to graduate from Cornell University.
  • 1906 — Alpha Phi Alpha, the first fraternity for Black men, is founded on the campus of Cornell University.
  • 1921 — Thomas Wyatt Turner completes his doctorate at Cornell, becoming the first African American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Botany.
  • 1925 — On September 26 of this year Elbert Frank Cox becomes the first Black man at Cornell and in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Physics.
  • 1932 — Frederick Douglass Patterson completes his doctorate at Cornell, becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in bacteriology.
  • 1936 — Flemmie Pansy Kittrell completes her doctorate at Cornell, becoming the first African American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition.
  • 1961 — Sadie Gasaway completes her doctorate at Cornell, becoming the fifth African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics.
  • 1966 — The Afro-American Society (AAS) is founded at Cornell University.
  • 1972 — Ujamaa Residential College, a Black themed living community, is formed.
  • 1981 — Mae Jemison graduates from Cornell Medical School. She would go on to become the first African American woman astronaut and the first Black woman in space.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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Posted in 746, Black History, Cornell University, Elbert Frank Cox, Higher Education, Msae Jemison, Sadie Gasaway, Sarah W. Brown

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  1. Kevin

    Thanks for this. I’m a graduate student at Cornell and it’s nice to see these milestones highlighted.

  2. Link Love for 2008-01-22 | A Slant Truth

    [...] Black Milestones in Higher Education: Big Red Edition « Black on Campus Black milestones at Cornell University (tags: blackfolks highereducation cornelluniversity) [...]

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