Guide to the Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke Records, 2012-2013
Duke admitted the first five African American undergraduates in September, 1963. In 2013, the University held a year-long celebration called Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke with a variety of academic, artistic, and service-oriented events. The collection includes programs, brochures, clippings, materials kept by Staff Director of the commemoration Keith Daniel, reflections written by alumni, and interviews with some of the first black undergraduate students recorded in 2012.
- Record Group
- Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke Records
- 1 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
The collection includes a binder kept by Keith Daniel in his role as staff director of Commemorating 50 Years, programs, brochures, newsclippings, short reflections written by alumni at events in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and a DVD of interviews with the first black undergraduate students conducted during the class reunion of 2012. The binder includes correspondence, meeting notes, schedules, and other materials related to the planning of events during the year-long commemoration.
Access to the Collection
Electronic records in this collection have been migrated to a library server and digital use copies can only be accessed onsite in the Rubenstein Library Reading Room. To request access, please contact a reference archivist before coming to use these records.
Use & Permissions
Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke Records, 2012-2013, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Pages from events in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Duke University was racially segregated until 1961. In September of 1961, the first African American students were admitted into graduate programs in the Law School and Divinity School. In September 1963, the first five African American undergraduate students enrolled: Mary Mitchell Harris, Gene Kendall, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Cassandra Smith Rush, and Nathaniel White, Jr. In 1967, Harris, Reuben-Cooke, and White became the first African American students to earn undergraduate degrees from Duke.
In 2012, plans began for events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the admission of black students to Duke in 2013. The commemoration was a year-long celebration of diversity and inclusion, branded as Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke, also referred to as the 50th Anniversary Commemoration. The leadership team for Commemorating 50 Years included Ben Reese (Vice President for Institutional Equity), Sterly Wilder (Associate Vice President for Alumni Affairs), Mike Schoenfeld (Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations); Keith Daniel, former Director of Community and Campus Engagement for Duke Chapel, was appointed staff director for the commemoration. An Executive Committee, an Advisory Committee, and a National Committee, made up of faculty, students, and administrators, were also appointed to work on the commemoration.
Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke University officially kicked off with a reception at the Nasher Museum of Art on January 25, 2013. Events throughout the year included a Durham/Duke event focused on civil rights at the Durham Performing Arts Center, an academic symposium led by faculty from the African and African-American Studies Department, musical performances, alumni reunions, regional events for Duke alumni in cities across the United States (including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles) and a closing ceremony during Founders' Day weekend in the fall of 2013.
Black Student Alliance Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Graduate School Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Prolonged and patient efforts: the desegregation of Duke University, 1948-1963; Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
The Commemorating 50 Years of Black Students at Duke Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2017.
Processed by Tracy M. Jackson, April, 2017
Accessions described in this collection guide: UA2017-0005