duke's first black undergraduate students
By Hadeel Abdelhy
In the fall of 1963, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Mary Mitchell Harris, Gene Kendall, Cassandra Smith Ru and Nathaniel White, Jr. were the first black undergraduates enrolled at Duke, among the last segregated schools in the South. Some trustees opposed their admission, as President Douglas Knight noted. “There were abstentions from the vote, and a good deal of silent unhappiness among alumni and others in the region.” In September 1964, Nigerian student Anthony Oyewole transferred to Duke as a junior, graduating in 1966 as the first black undergraduate to earn his degree from Duke.