African Americans

Here's some description about African American History at NC State.

African Americans

1880s

  • 1889 Former slave begins 50 year career at university

    An early female African American employee of the university was "Aunt" Ellen McGuire, who began working at NC State in 1889. McGuire worked at State for 50 years, retiring in 1939. According to a 1939 Technician article, McGuire was born into slavery on a North Carolina plantation. Although McGuire maintained many responsibilities while the College employed her, she spent much of her time working in the infirmary.

1890s

  • 1890 Second Morrill Act becomes law

    The Second Morrill Act becomes law, requiring states to provide technical education for African Americans. No federal money would be disbursed to any college that made distinctions between students on the basis of race. States could comply, however, by providing separate colleges for blacks and whites.

  • 1891 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College established

    In order to comply with the Second Morrill Act and yet prevent admission of African Americans to the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, the North Carolina state government creates the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro.

1910s

  • 1911 First African American agricultural extension agent

    The North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station (located at A&M College) hired Neil Alexander Bailey as its first African American agricultural extension agent.

  • 1914 African American 4-H Clubs

    The first club for African-American youth was created in Sampson County under the leadership of G.W. Herring.

  • 1915 African American 4-H leader

    John Wray became the first statewide African American youth club agent.

  • 1917 African American Home Demonstration

    The first Home Demonstration programs were organized for African American women.

1920s

  • 1926 African American 4-H Short Course

    The first State 4-H Short Course for African American youth was held at North Carolina A & T College in Greensboro.

1950s

  • 1951 Graduate admission for African Americans

    The Consolidated University of North Carolina decides that African American students are eligible for admission into graduate programs.

  • 1953 Dairy farm conference segregated dining

    In 1953, NC State College hosted a dairy farm conference on campus. Chancellor Bostian declared that African American dairy farmers attending the conference could only eat in the west wing of the dining hall. Bostian’s announcement was in keeping with the College’s policy, which declared African Americans attending on campus meetings would have meals in the dining hall but only when a separate room was available. Leazar Hall served as the campus-dining hall until 1971.

  • 1953 First African-American graduate students admitted

    State College admits two African-American graduate students into the School of Engineering: Robert Clemons and Hardy Liston. Clemons became the college's first black graduate; Liston later withdrew and didn't complete his degree.

  • 1955 Frazier v. the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina

    In Frazier v. the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, the court determines that undergraduate colleges and universities should be open to African Americans.

  • 1955 Camp Mitchell opened

    Camp J.W. Mitchell opened for African American 4-H youth at Hammock's Beach in Onslow County. Funding for the camp had been raised by the 4-H Club Foundation of North Carolina, founded in 1950.

  • September 1956 First African-American undergraduates

    The first four African-American undergraduates enrolled at North Carolina State College: Ed Carson, Manuel Crockett, Irwin Holmes, and Walter Holmes.

  • 1956 First African American in Marching Band

    Walter Holmes joined the marching band and the concert band during his first semester at State College in 1956. Holmes's presence in the band complicated segregation laws in stadiums and dining halls throughout the south. In 1957, Holmes dined with the band in the Clemson College dining hall. South Carolina residents circulated a petition asking Governor Timmerman "to see that such racial mixing doesn't occur again, especially when N.C. State visits ... More

  • 1957 First African-American graduate

    Robert Clemons received a professional degree in Electrical Engineering (PREE), becoming the first African-American to graduate from NC State.

  • 1958 First integrated athletic team

    African-American student Irwin Holmes joins the tennis team, making it the first integrated athletic team at State College.

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  • 1958 First African-American academic staff member

    The first African-American female academic staff member, Mrs. Justina Williams, is hired to work in the Department of Genetics' Drosophila research lab. Many African-Americans had worked at State prior to Williams’s appointment, however they primarily worked in custodial or food service positions.

1960s

  • 1960 First African-American athletics team captain

    Irwin Holmes became co-captain of the tennis team, making him the first African American athletics team captain at NC State.

  • 4/1960 Students and Faculty call for Raleigh integration

    Student Government passes a resolution calling for racial integration of public facilities in Raleigh. This is followed by a similar resolution from the Faculty Senate. Student Government forms the Human Relations Committee to write letters to area merchants.

  • 5/1960 First African-American undergraduate degree conferred

    Irwin Holmes earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, making him the first African-American undergraduate to receive a degree at NC State. Further documentation of Irwin Holmes's life exists at DigitalNC.

  • 5/1960 First African-American female masters' degree recipient

    Hazel Virginia Clark receives a master's degree in Occupational Information and Guidance, becoming the first African-American woman to receive a master's degree from NC State.

  • 1962 First full-time African-American library staff member

    Edward Walker is hired as a mail clerk, becoming the first full-time African-American staff member of the library.

  • 1962 First African-American faculty member

    Vivian Henderson becomes the first African-American faculty member, taking a position as a visiting professor in the Department of Economics. Henderson was a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., and he later became president of the historically black Clark College in Atlanta.

  • 1963 Integration on Hillsborough Street

    Baxley's on Hillsborough Street becomes the first restaurant near NC State to serve African-Americans.

  • 4/30/1963 Protest over racial segregation

    A group of NC State students join with students from Shaw University to protest racial segregation policies in effect at the State Theater on Salisbury Street.

  • 1965 First African-American instructor with faculty ranking

    Dorothy Williams becomes the first African-American instructor with faculty ranking, teaching in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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  • 1965 Extension programs integrate

    Extension programs, including 4-H and Home Economics, began to integrate.

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  • 1966 University pressures local landlords

    In 1966, the University was pressuring area landlords to rent to African American students. In response, some landlords wrote angry letters to Chancellor Caldwell.

  • 1966 First female African-American undergraduate degree recipient

    Norma Wright Garcia becomes the first African-American female to receive an undergraduate degree, earning a BA in history.

  • 1967 First African-American PhD recipient

    Stephen Benton Latimer receives a PhD in Animal Science, becoming the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree from NC State.

  • 1967-1968 First African-American Freshman Basketball players

    Alfred "Al" Heartley and William Cooper become the first African-American members of the freshman basketball team. Heartley later went on to play on the varsity team.

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  • 1967 First African-American football player

    Marcus Martin becomes the first African-American player to join the football team.

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  • 1968 First African-American recruited for basketball

    Ed Leftwich becomes the first African-American to be recruited to the basketball team, and the first to receive a scholarship as a freshman.

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  • 1968 First basketball scholarship awarded to an African-American

    Al Heartley becomes the first African-American to be awarded a basketball scholarship at NC State. He later became the first African-American captain of the team (1970-1971), and the first African-American to win the Alumni Athletics trophy (1971).

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  • 4/6/1968 Student reaction to Martin Luther King, Jr. assasination

    On the weekend of Kings death approximately 200 white students and faculty (from UNC and Duke as well as NCSU) gathered in the Brickyard intending to march on the State Capitol Building in an attempt to speak with Governor Dan Moore. The ultimate goal of the march was to present a petition to the governor that "show[ed] the Negro community that concern exists among whites by presenting written grievances to the governor." However, the march did not go ... More

  • 1969 First Black Studies classes offered

    In fall 1969, NC State began offering Black Studies courses; these courses included black American literature, the Afro-American in America, black Americans in American politics, and black ideology. Previously, many students were going to Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College to take these classes.

  • 1969 African American employees demand better pay

    Sixteen African American Physical Plant employees visited the Chancellor’s office to request pay raises. The Physical Plant employees refused to leave the Chancellor’s office. All janitorial/housekeeping services in residence halls canceled as a result of financial pressure from protests for pay raises.

  • 1969 First African-American Student Senate President

    Eric Moore became the first African American Student Senate President.

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  • 1969 First African-American football scholarship recipient

    Clyde Chesney becomes the first African-American to receive a football scholarship.

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  • 2/28/1969 Student rally

    A group of students hold a rally to support better wages and working conditions for non-academic workers on campus. The protest is organized by the Society of Afro-American Culture and an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society calling themselves "The Group."

  • 4/1969 March to support African American employees

    African American students and employees marched to the Chancellor’s house in opposition to the suspension of African American workers (the Physical Plant fired 4 female housekeepers for refusing to work in male dorms and several men were suspended for leaving work to meet with the Chancellor).

1970s

  • 1970 First African American Miss NCSU

    Mary Evelyn Porterfield elected first African American Miss NCSU. In an interview with the Technician following her selection as homecoming queen, Porterfield stated, "If I had been the first black homecoming queen ever at a university of this size, I think it would have weighed much more heavily on my emotions, but to me, by this time, it seems as ordinary as would have been any selection. I think State is three years behind in the trend . . . I realize that ... More

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  • 1970 NC State fails to comply with Civil Rights Act of 1964

    The Health, Education and Welfare Department (HEW) informed the University of North Carolina schools that its institutions, including NC State, failed to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • 1970 First African-American recipients of full football scholarships

    Willie Burden and Charley Young become the first African-Americans to receive football scholarships as incoming freshmen.

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  • 1970 First African American Cultural Center formed

    Students form NC State's first African American Cultural Center, which was given space in the YMCA building.

  • 1970 First African-American librarian

    William V. Frazier is hired as the first African-American in a professional librarian position.

  • 1971 Second African-American earns Ph.D.

    Augustus M. Witherspoon becomes the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from NC State, and the first African American to receive a doctoral degree and go on to join the faculty (see 1979).

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  • 1971 First African-American fraternity

    Seven students found a local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, making it NC State's first African-American fraternity.

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  • 1971 Increased equality

    The Division of Student Affairs hires a black counselor, makes financial aid available to black students, and encourages black cultural programs.

  • 1972 First African-American academic administrator

    William Maxwell becomes an assistant dean, making him NC State's first African-American academic administrator.

  • 1972 "In a Black Perspective" published

    NC State publishes "In a Black Perspective." This pamphlet tallies the university's black community at nine professors and 222 students (out of a total 13,809), and lists courses focusing on black history and culture: two in Political Science and one on race relations in Sociology.

  • 4/4/1972 Pan-Afrikan Festival

    The second annual Pan-Afrikan Festival begins.

  • 1973 First female African-American Ph.D. recipient

    Nannette Smith Henderson becomes the first African-American woman to be awarded a Ph.D. at NC State, with a degree in Plant Pathology.

  • 1973 First African-American All-American winner

    David Thompson was named NC State's first African-American All-American winner in basketball. In 2012 he was inducted into the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame.

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  • 1974 NC State hires Dr. Lawrence M. Clark

    NC State hired Dr. Lawrence M. Clark as Associate Provost. Dr. Clark was the second African American to serve as a university administrator. In addition to serving as a professor of mathematics education, Dr. Clark coordinated all activities related to the university’s Affirmative Action Plan. Dr. Clark was instrumental in the founding of NC State’s African American Cultural Center, the Peer Mentor program, and the African American Symposium.

  • 1974 Affirmative Action plan accepted

    The university's affirmative action plan is informally accepted by HEW.

  • 1974 New African American Cultural Center

    In 1974, African American students called for a new cultural center. Student Body President Terry Carroll presented a “four point” request to Chancellor Caldwell, which included a request for the first floor of the Print Shop to be turned over to the Society of Afro-American Culture for an African American Cultural Center. Banks C. Talley, dean of student affairs, complied with this request.

  • 1974 First Women's Basketball team

    A Women's Basketball team is established for the first time. The team included two African American women, Gwen Jenkins and Cynthia Steele.

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  • 1975 First African-American sorority

    A chapter of Delta Sigma Theta is established, becoming the first African-American sorority chapter on campus.

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  • 1978 First African-American football All-American

    Ted Brown becomes the first African-American named an All-American in football. In 2012 he was inducted into the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame.

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  • 1978 First Brotherhood Dinner

    Chancellor Joab Thomas held the first Brotherhood Dinner, honoring Samual Nesbritt. The dinner was institutionalized as an annual event under Chancellor Bruce Poulton in 1982.

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1980s

  • 1987 Anti-Apartheid March

    Student Government organized a march to protest NC State’s financial involvement in South Africa. The “anti-apartheid march” began outside the African American Cultural Center (West Dunn) and ended at the Memorial Tower. Approximately 75 students participated in the march.

  • 1987-1988 Kevin Howell

    Howell was the first African-American to serve as Student Body President. We was a political science major. After graduation, he eventually became the university's primary liaison with state and local governments.

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  • 1988 African American Studies minor introduced

    In fall 1988, NC State implemented an African-American Studies minor, the first of its kind at the university. The interdisciplinary minor required students to take courses in both history and English literature.

  • 1988 African American student leaders hold meeting

    Black student leaders gathered at the Student Center to discuss campus issues. The low graduation rate for black students, the lack of African American faculty members and athletic administrators, and the discriminatory discipline practices within the athletics department were problems cited by black leaders during this meeting.

  • 1988 Students march against racism

    Greeks United sponsored the March Against Racism-Challenging History (M.A.R.C.H.) to support change in the University’s policies towards African American Students. Students marched to Holladay Hall to present a petition to the Chancellor, which demanded immediate action. NC State’s first African American student body president, Kevin Howell (1987-1988), participated in the M.A.R.C.H.

  • 1988 NC State recognizes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

    1988 marked the first year the University recognized Martin Luther King Day. University administrators initially announced the substitution of Easter Monday for MLK day, however students reacted negatively to this suggestion. Student Body president Kevin Howell introduced an open forum to hear student concerns about the spring calendar changes. Upon hearing support for both holidays, Howell pushed the administration to observe both Easter and MLK day. University ... More

  • 1989 Position created for African-American Affairs

    NC State creates the Associate Provost position in African-American Affairs.

  • 1989 Harassment Policy Adopted

    The Board of Trustees adopts a racial harassment policy.

  • 1989 First College of Engineering female African-American faculty member

    Christine Grant (Chemical Engineering) becomes the first African-American female faculty member appointed in the College of Engineering.

1990s

  • 1990 Collection Management Department established

    The Collection Management Department is established, with Margaret Hunt as its first head. Hunt had been one of the first African-American librarians hired during the 1970s.

  • 2/1990 Brian Nixon attacked

    Student Body President Brian Nixon was attacked by two or three people near his residence hall, North Hall. Prior to this attack, public safety provided Nixon with security. Nixon received racial death threats and intimidating calls and letters throughout his presidency. As student body president, Nixon implemented programs that encouraged students to practice ethical behavior and allowed students to meet with campus leaders in informal settings. Nixon ... More

  • 1991 African American Cultural Center opens

    African American Cultural Center opened in the new Student Center Annex (later renamed Witherspoon Student Center). In 1992, following months of student and faculty protests, NCSU administrators granted the African American Cultural Center an operating budget.

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  • 1991 First African American male voted Leader of the Pack

    Kedrick Lowery was elected Leader of the Pack (which had replaced the homecoming queen competition). Lowery was the first African American male to be honored with the title. Lowery was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity.

  • 1992 Sista 2 Sistuh Network established

    The Sista 2 Sistuh Network is established to support African-American women at NC State.

  • 1992 First African American Dean

    James Anderson becomes the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, making him the first African-American dean.

  • 11/30/1992 The Nubian Message began publication

    The Nubian Message began publication in response to student protests alleging racial bias by the Technician. Tony Williamson served as the paper’s first editor-in-chief. The paper was first released in Talley Student Center. In the inaugural issue, Williamson stated his intention to "totally, truthfully, and faithfully cover every aspect of African American life at NCSU" and his hope that the Nubian Message would become "the media voice for African ... More

  • 4/1/1995 Witherspoon Student Center dedicated

    The building formerly known as the Student Center Annex was dedicated on this date to honor Dr. Augustus McIver Witherspoon. It thus became the first building on campus named after an African American. Dr. Witherspoon earned his Ph.D. in Botany from NCSU in 1971, making him the second African American student to receive a Ph.D. from NC State. He joined the faculty as Instructor of Botany and eventually held the following posts at NCSU: Full Professor, Assistant ... More

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  • 1998 Chavonda Jacobs-Young awarded a Ph.D.

    Chavonda Jacobs-Young was awarded a Ph.D. She had previously earned a Bachelors of Science degree (1989) and Masters of Science degree (1992). She was the first African American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in paper science. She later became associate administrator for national programs for the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

  • 1998 Students rally in support of Affirmative Action

    A crowd of approximately 500 students and faculty members rallied in Witherspoon in support of affirmative action. Students opposed UNC system President Molly Broad’s proposal to eliminate race based programs within the UNC system.

2000s

  • 2000 Vice Provost for Diversity and African-American Affairs

    University administration creates the position of Vice Provost for Diversity and African-American Affairs. One stated goal of this position is to improve the experience of black students and other minorities.

  • 2002 African-American Student Advisory Council Report Cards

    The African-American Student Advisory Council begins issuing report cards grading the university on enrollment, retention, and graduation of African-American students. The report card gave NCSU an F for recruiting black students.

  • 2003 Yolanda King speaks on campus

    Yolanda King, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, addressed students in Stewart Theatre as part of the NCSU MLK Commemoration. King urged a crowd of more than 500 to shake off apathy and tackle social problems such as poverty, hunger and intolerance.

  • 10/2004 Students protest appropriations for African American clubs

    African American students participated in a sit-in at a Student Senate meeting to express concern for the lack of funding for African American organizations. Out of $40,000 of appropriations, African American organizations received a mere $735. The Student Senate agreed to send the bill back to committee for re-evaluation.

  • 8/25/2005 Student Chapter of NAACP re-forms

    On August 25, 2005 NC States student chapter of the NAACP held its first meeting in four years. Gina Dean, the NAACP youth and college state director, provided students a brief overview of the NAACPs history. An NC State NAACP chapter initiated in 1991, however participation in the organization declined until the chapter became inactive. Michael Boykin (later named chapter president) and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity aided in the rechartering of the NC State NAACP ... More

  • 2006-3/2011 First African American head basketball coach

    Sidney Lowe served as the first African American head coach of the NCSU mens basketball team. Lowe was the starting point guard for NC States 1983 basketball team, which won the national championship. From 1991 to 1993, Lowe served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lowe later served as the head coach of the Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies. In March 2011, Sidney Lowe resigned from his head coach position at NC State. In a statement to the ... More

  • 2006 Office for Diversity and Inclusion moves to Winslow Hall

    The Office for Diversity and Inclusion moved to Winslow Hall, following the completion of a new Alumni Association building on Centennial Campus in 2006.

  • 11/5/2008 Racist graffiti directed at Obama

    Freedom of Expression Tunnel: On November 5, 2008 racist, threatening graffiti, directed at (then) President-elect Barack Obama, was found in the tunnel. Because of the threats against Obama, the Secret Service was among those called to investigate. The four students responsible were identified and admitted to the act. The students issued an anonymous public apology. In response to the incident, which received international media attention, Chancellor Oblinger ... More

2010s

  • 11/2010 Racial epithets painted in Freedom of Expression Tunnel

    In November 2010, racial epithets were painted in the Freedom of Expression Tunnel. Students protested against the offensive images by blocking entrance to the tunnel. Chancellor Woodson released a statement which declared ". . . we must create an environment and an overall sense of global awareness on campus that encourages and embraces all forms of diversity."