1900: Ohio University begins an era in which it experiences a small but steady influx of African American students.
1904: Arthur D. Carr becomes Ohio University’s first African American football player by serving as the team’s quarterback.
1905: A groundbreaking ceremony is held in honor of the construction of the Mt. Zion church building. Completed in September of 1909, the building still stands today.
1915: Leonard Barnett establishes the DuBois Club as the first African American organization on campus. This social/literary club was created for the pending establishment of an Ohio University chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
1916: Martha Jane Hunley-Blackburn (daughter-in-law of John R. Blackburn) receives a B.S. degree in Education and graduates summa cum laude, becoming Ohio University’s first African American female graduate.
1919: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Phi Chapter, is established at Ohio University. This fraternity had previously been recognized as the nation’s first intercollegiate historically black Greek lettered organization in 1906.
1923: The Board of Trustees adopts a policy preventing African Americans from segregationists states from attending Ohio University.
1927: Construction begins on the Alumni Memorial Auditorium. The building, which was built entirely with alumni money, would later be renamed Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium to honor the first African male and females graduates of Ohio University.
1928: The Black Student Union is organized.
1959: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participates in the 18th Ecumenical Student Conference on the Christian World Mission (December 27, 1959 to January 2, 1960). In his speech, Dr. King outlined the role of the Church in achieving racial justice.
1959: Phillip Saunders becomes the first African American senior class president and the first African American chairperson of the student governing board.
1959: Lindley Cultural Center opens with Thomas Childs as its first coordinator. The center serves as a place where members of the university community, representing a variety of backgrounds, can participate in cultural teaching and learning.
1959: Alvin Adams becomes the first African American to receive a degree in journalism.
1960: Les Carney, class of 1959 and Ohio University’s first All-American Track and Field athlete, wins the silver medal in the 200 meter dash at the Olympic Games in Rome.
1962: Vernon R. Alden is inaugurated as Ohio University’s 15th president. The Alden Administration develops a precedent for actively recruiting African American students.
1963: E. Curmie Price is hired by the English Department as Ohio University’s first African American faculty member.
1969: Ohio University pledges $250,000 to fund one of the nation’s first Black Studies Institutes, with William Sutton as its first director. (Today this program is known as the Department of African American Studies.)
1969: Alicia Woodson becomes the first African American woman to serve as Student Body President.
1970: Dr. Harry Morgan is appointed as the first dean of the Black Studies Institute, which has been renamed the Center for Afro-American Studies.
1971: Curtis L. Richardson of Portsmouth, Ohio, becomes the first graduate of the Center for Afro-American Studies.
1973: Six African Americans are elected to the Student Governing Board and three to the Student Financial Board, establishing a precedent for African American student participation in Ohio University’s student government.
1974: Donald Spencer, a Cincinnati realtor, becomes the first African American to be appointed to the Board of Trustees since 1892 and the first to serve since 1911.
1975: Ohio University’s first Black Homecoming is organized.
1976: L.B. Towns becomes the first Ohio University student and first African American to win an NCAA Boxing championship.
1977: Dr. Francine Childs becomes Ohio University’s first tenured African American professor. Dr. Childs later serves as a delegate to Jesse Jackson’s 1984 campaign for president.
1979: Dr. Hilda Richards is appointed the first African American Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.
1982: Byron White becomes the first African American editor of The Post, Ohio University’s student newspaper.
1984: Cleve Bryant becomes coach of the Ohio University football team, earning the distinction as the third African American head coach in NCAA Division I-A football. An Ohio University alumnus, Bryant would hold this position for five seasons.
1987: Patricia Gyi, an assistant dean in Ohio University’s College of Communication, becomes the first African American to serve on the Athens City Council.