As part of honoring and celebrating #BredHistory during Black History Month, Kentucky State University is looking back at some of its trailblazing alumni.
In February 1943, Anna Mac Clarke ’41 received orders to become the Fourth Company, Third Regiment’s Platoon Leader. This title distinguished her as the first African-American WAAC to command an all-white unit.
Dr. Benjamin W. Nero ’60 was accepted into the second class in the UK College of Dentistry in 1963. He became the first African-American graduate of the UK College of Dentistry in 1967.
Ersa H. Poston ’42 was one of the highest-ranked women in the federal government, having been appointed a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission by President Carter in 1977.
Dr. Gus T. Ridgel was part of Concerned Student 1950, the first group of African-American students admitted to the University of Missouri. Ridgel was admitted to the graduate program in economics in 1950 after civil rights groups won a court ruling desegregating the university.
In 1968, Luska Joseph Twyman ’38 became the first African-American mayor of Glasgow, Kentucky. He was also the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Commission of Human Rights.
Moneta Sleet Jr. ’47 was the African-American journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for his photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow and child, taken at Dr. King’s funeral.
Chief Justice Tom Colbert ’73 holds the distinction of being the first African-American in Oklahoma’s history to be appointed and to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
One of the most respected and influential civil rights activists, Whitney Young Jr. ’41 was appointed executive director of the National Urban League in 1961. In 1968, Young received the highest civilian award given, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
To view photos of the alumni listed here, visit our photo gallery. To follow the month-long social media campaign to honor our past, use the hashtag #BredHistory.