The University of Miami Commemorates 50 Years of Desegregation

"On January 13, 1961, USG called for the adoption of a new racial policy without waiting for the board of trustees to act...The board was ready to act and, on January 31, 1961, voted to admit qualified students without regard to race or color beginning in the summer of that year."

Charlton Tebeau

This digital exhibit highlights the pivotal moments of desegregation at the University of Miami. The photographs, newspaper clippings and various documents from the University's Archives trace tentative explorations starting as early as the 1950s to the official desegregation on the main Coral Gables Campus in the 1960s.

The pursuit of racial equality within educational institutions was a crucial turning point in the history of ideas and their modes of transmission. Desegregation was not only a matter of "allowing" people of color to inhabit the same physical spaces as whites, but also involved curriculum changes, the hiring of "negro" scholars, administrators and diversifying the content of libraries and museums. The progressive shift in the nature of knowledge and its modes of acquisitions is at the heart of institutions of higher learning. Interestingly, course bulletins and departmental records document how the process began with classes offered in education and human relations. Furthermore, organizations such as the United Black Students fought for the desegregation of cultural expressions and sought institutional validation for the intellectual contributions of Africa and its diaspora.