Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Charles F. Robinson

Committee Member

Calvin White

Second Committee Member

Patrick G. Williams

Keywords

Social sciences; Civil rights; Colleges and universities; Desegregation; Race relations; Southern history; Texas

Abstract

Southern Methodist University was the first Methodist institution in the South to open its doors to African Americans in the early 1950s. There were several factors that contributed to SMU pushing for desegregation when it did. When SMU started the process of desegregation in the fall of 1950, two schools in the Southwest Conference had already admitted at least one black graduate student. University officials, namely then President Umphrey Lee, realized that because other schools had desegregated, it would not be long before SMU would have to do the same. Lee started the path towards desegregation in 1950, and it continued through the presidency of Willis Tate until 1970 when SMU was no longer lily-white.

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