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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Re: HBCUs: Historically Black Colleges & Universit

Two of my uncles, one maternal, one paternal, attended Arkansas Baptist College, located in Little Rock. This would have been in the 1920s. The Arkansas History Commission (state archives) has many records of the school on microfilm, and it was interesting to find their grades.

In 1948, Edith Irby became the first Black person to attend racially integrated classes in the south, also the first to attend the University of Arkansas Medical school. See link below.

I have two "sort of" links to her. I had appendecitis when I was 9 years old and eventually went to the U of A hospital in Little Rock. I vividly recall being the star of one of those scenes you used to see on TV, where the med students are arranged in a circular theater, looking down at the "stage" where a young doctor is presenting his patient. I was the patient in this instance and recall seeing one black person among the students, a woman.

Years go by and I attend the one state-run HBCU, then known as Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal (AM&N) College (now UAPB), and the Dean of Students is Dr. Jones. Who is married to Edith Irby. More years go by and Ebony does an article on her where I learn that she attended the U of A med school and the years she was there. I realize then that she had to be the woman I saw from my vantage point on the stretcher, under the lights.

[A "Normal" school was a teachers' college. Think of the towns across the country named "Normal" and see if there isn't a school associated with them.

There was a white school called "Arkansas A & M," so we couldn't be called that...]

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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