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Pioneering African Americans

Series highlights those who shaped OSU

February 12, 2010
Story by Marissa Chavez, OSU Library Communications Intern

For Immediate Release

STILLWATER -February is Black History Month; as the country celebrates and remembers the people and events that shaped our country, the O-STATE Stories, a project of the OSU Library’s oral history program, documents the people who shaped OSU. 

O-STATE Stories’ purpose is to record and collect information about the rich history, heritage and traditions of OSU, and “Pioneering African Americans at OSU” is a series that highlights several individuals whose unique, diverse stories left lasting impressions on the university.

“These are stories that hadn’t been told on record but we felt were significant and valuable to the history at OSU,” said Jerry Gill, coordinator of the O-STATE Stories Project.

Many interviewees were pioneers at OSU and celebrated firsts of black students and faculty. For instance, Nancy Davis was the first student enrolled at OSU, Dr. Melvin Tolson was one of the first of two graduates of OSU and Dr. Earl D. Mitchell was the first tenure track faculty member. All of them made many other distinguished contributions in Oklahoma.

While the interviewees’ might occasionally forget certain details, their reactions to their experiences were not forgotten and could be felt during their interviews, Gill said.

“Pioneering African Americans at OSU” is a series that helps others appreciate what pioneering, black OSU students accomplished and the opportunities they provided for all students.

This series began in 2008 and is an on-going process. All interviews will be available online, with a transcript, audio excerpts, photo and short bio.

O-STATE Stories is a project of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP). Formally established in 2007, the OOHRP at the OSU Library has collected and preserved firsthand accounts from individuals who have played a part in Oklahoma’s history. The Program explores the lives and contributions of Oklahomans from all walks of life. To learn more about the OOHRP call 405-744-7685, email liboh@okstate.edu, or visit http://www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/.

Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant system that cuts across disciplines to better prepare students for a new world. Oklahoma's only university with a statewide presence, OSU improves the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation, and the world through integrated, high-quality teaching, research and outreach. OSU has more than 32,000 students across its five-campus system and nearly 21,000 on its Stillwater campus; with students from all 50 states and about 110 nations. Established in 1890, OSU has graduated more than 200,000 students who have made a lasting impact on Oklahoma and the world. CREATE - INNOVATE - EDUCATE - GO STATE!

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URL: http://www.library.okstate.edu/news/spring10/pioneers.htm
Last Updated: 12 February 2010

Media Contact:

Bonnie Ann Cain-Wood, APR
Email: lib-pub@okstate.edu
Phone: (405) 744-7331

225 Edmon Low Library
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078-1071

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