First Black Students Honored at U of M

(Memphis) Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Memphis Tuesday to pay tribute to its first African-American students.

It’s been 53 years since the Memphis State Eight first stepped onto the campus. 

They were the first black students to be allowed to enroll in the school, helping carve the path to equality.

Seven of those original students attended the ceremony where Memphis Mayor A C Warton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and U.S. Representative Steve Cohen spoke in their honor.

They also unveiled a historical marker recognizing the Memphis State Eight for years to come.

“This is a huge, huge stride the U of M has taken to put a marker here to recognize them  and it will be here permanently so everyone that walks by will be able to see and recognize that these eight students made a mark in history, said Student Joya Smith.

Mayor Wharton also announced a documentary about those first black students that will be released sometime this Fall.

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