Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Milestones in Higher Education: Tiger Edition

November 21st, 2007 by Ajuan Mance

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

Posted in African American Professors, African American Students, Black Faculty, Black History, Black Students, Daphne LaSalle, Higher Education, Louisiana State, LSU, My Favorite Blogs, Pinkie Gordon Lane, race

13 Responses

  1. fred333

    Great timeline. I never knew the history of LSU before.

  2. twilightandreason

    Thanks fred333! Check back for more SEC schools in the future.

  3. Paulette

    I can offer you more details on your timeline in this entry for LSU.

  4. Ajuan Mance

    Hi Paulette,

    Thank you for writing. I would love to add more detail to my LSU timeline. Just email me at


    Ajuan Mance

  5. John C.Campbell

    My aging memory may fail me, but I believe the late Carl Otis Trimble took snaps at quarterback in the mid 70s long before Herb Tyler. Certainly Tyler was the first starting qb. I also seem to remember that Mike Williams was in the same class as Lora Hinton if not the year before.

  6. Shariba Rivers

    Hi Ajuan: Nice job! My mom is Freya Anderson Rivers (your 1964 entry). Thank you for making this public and honoring her and others who have made a difference. My mom has very painful memories of her time at LSU (made even more painful upon my decision to attend LSU years ago). Recognizing her and her contribution to paving the way at LSU is special. I know many of the people on this list. What a fantastic way to show us our roots and upon whose shoulders we stand. It’s also wonderful that many of these people can SEE their legacy being honored!

  7. Turner, Thomas

    Herb Tyler became a starting quarterback in 1995 when we played Kentucky.

  8. Turner, Thomas

    Thomas Ray Turner, Jr. was the first black student athlete to graduate undergraduate studes in 3.5 years. As a starter on the football team and during his senior year he attended graudate school in the MBA program.

  9. Coach A. Jacobs

    Herb Tyler was not the first African-African to start at QB for LSU. A year earlier, Melvin Hill replaced Jamie Howard as the starting QB at LSU. In addition, Otis Trimble started in the 70’s.

  10. Coach A. Jacobs

    @Turner. Herb Tyler did not replace Jamie Howard as qb in1995 against Kentucky. Herb did not get to LSU until 1996 season with Denardo, I believe. Melvin Hill #17 was the qb.

  11. John Hubbell

    Blacks were at LSU in the 1950′s. I did my undergraduate 4 years at Vanderbilt and I attended Summer school at LSU in 1955 and 1956. As an undergraduate I took classes that were electives and not part of my Physics major. One class I took was a great class, Southern Lit. Attending class with pregnant women and blacks was a new experience to me. In 1958 I had a black Grad student in the Astronomy Lab that I taught. She had done her undergraduate work at Fisk U. in Nashville. Good of you to mention the presence of Blacks at LSU in the 50′s.

  12. Lana


    Do you think you could find out how to get articles/works published by Christine Minor? She was my paternal grandmother and passed before I was born. You’ve done such amazing work so far, I just wanted to see if you knew how I might go about finding out more about her.

  13. Jan

    I was at LSU with Herb Tyler. Although he did an amazing job & we were winning, the students & alumni were having a difficult time accepting him as QB. He received so many death threats & hate mail it was outrageous. The coaches had to start monitoring his mail and phone calls. It didn’t stop him though; he gave it his best shot every game.