Black History is American history and by failing to remember the good and the bad…future generations lose momentum…
This is a picture of what separate but equal looked like. The Black man seated at the desk outside the classroom is George McLaurin. He was the first Black student admitted to the PhD program at the University of Oklahoma and to attend the school he had to sue for admission. The practice was that if Black students applied to public White colleges and universities, rather than admit them, the White institution would pay for the Black students to attend the nearest Black college or university. McLaurin already had his Master’s degree and wanted to obtain a doctorate. The only PhD program was at Oklahoma so McLaurin sued to attend. Yet his admission came with conditions. All of his campus experiences-his dining experiences, library visits, bathrooms, athletic seating- would have to be segregated. McLaurin decided enough was enough. With Thurgood Marshall as one of his lawyers, he sued the University of Oklahoma again claiming the segregated class experience prevented him from an equal learning experience and his case made it all the way to the Supreme Court in 1950. The Supreme Court sided with Mr. McLaurin and this marked the beginning of the end of segregating public schools, colleges and universities. Although Mr. McLaurin did not finish his PhD program at Oklahoma, his courage and commitmemt to endure the extreme isolation and exclusion that he experienced is a testament to his strength. Salute.