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Universities Honor First Black Faculty Member, Journalism Graduate With Building Dedications

In October, the University of Missouri named an academic building in honor of its first Black professor, Dr. Arvarh E. Strickland, who arrived in 1969 as a full tenured professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences. He helped create the Black studies program. Strickland also served as associate vice president of academic affairs and as a special assistant to the chancellor. After 26 years, he retired in 1995 and was honored with an endowed professorship.

“They wanted something tangible to symbolize the presence of African-Americans on campus,” said Strickland, a 1951 graduate of Tougaloo College. “I think of myself really as being symbolic of that purpose. I’m a symbol of something a bit larger than anything I’ve accomplished.” The former General Classroom Building is now Arvarh E. Strickland Hall — the first building on campus named for an African- American.

A little farther east, Ohio University honored its first Black journalism graduate by dedicating a new residence hall in his name last month. The late Alvin Adams graduated from OU in 1959 and went on to cover the civil rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. He also went on to work for the Chicago Defender and Jet magazine, where he covered Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965.

–Diverse staff

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