As Black History Month comes to a close, we would like to honor just a few of the many pioneers for equality at Carolina. These Tar Heels have made a lasting impact on Carolina and the broader community through advocacy, policy, and leadership.
Harvey Beech, James Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee, Floyd McKissick and James Robert Walker were the first black students to enroll at Carolina in 1951 after a court order that mandated that the Law School must admit black students.
Blyden and Roberta Jackson were the first tenured black faculty members at Carolina. Blyden taught English, and later served as the assistant dean of the Graduate School, where he advocated for the enrollment of black students and hiring of black faculty members. Roberta taught education and became the first tenured black woman in the Division of Academic Affairs.
Howard Lee earned a master’s degree from the UNC School of Social Work in 1966. In 1969, Lee ran for mayor of Chapel Hill and won, becoming the first black mayor of a majority-white city in the South.
Learn about other pioneers for equality at UNC.