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.
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 the University of South Carolina here Nov. 23." Holmes's presence in the band also angered NC State alumni. State alumnus A. W. Boswell wrote a letter to H. W. Taylor, director of alumni affairs, opposing the bands integration. Chancellor Bostian replied to Boswell's letter stating the band director was legally obligated to audition "Negroes." He continued stating, "Two Negroes appeared for tryouts. One was rejected because of only fair performance on his instrument. The individual approved for being in the band is an excellent musician and there was no way the Director of the band could eliminate him."
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.
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.
First African American Dean
James Anderson becomes the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, making him the first African-American dean.