the first five:
STATUES FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS IN A DESEGREGATED DUKE
by Hadeel Abdelhy
On June 2, 1962, the Board of Trustees announced that undergraduate students would be admitted without regard to race. The following year in 1963, the first five black undergraduate students enrolled at Duke University: Mary Mitchell, Gene Kendall, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Cassandra Smith Rush, and Nathaniel White Jr.
Mitchell and White both grew up near Durham. Kendall received a full scholarship to study mechanical engineering. Reuben-Cooking was a study at the Divinity School. Rush applied to Duke three times -- two times during the university’s segregation-- and majored in zoology.
I propose the installation of five statues of these students, drawing inspiration from:
(Left) The statue of Rudolph Antorcha, the first black student at Saint Leo University. The figure on the right of him represents the Benedictine monks at the school who chose to admit Antorcha.
(Right) The statue of Barbara Jordan at the University of Texas Austin, as the first African American elected to the Texas Senate and the first Southern African American woman elected to the US House of Representatives.
(Bottom) The statue of James Howard Meredith, the first African American student admitted to the previously segregated University of Mississippi.