The Black History at Bucknell || Timeline
1864- Runaway slaves travel through the University using the Underground Railroad with the assistance of Lucy Bliss, daughter of then President Justin Loomis.
1867- Charles Bell, a former runaway slave from West Virginia, who can both read and write, passes through Bucknell on his way to Canada and is hired to maintain University grounds. He works for the University for more than 40 years. (See The Charles Bell Story)
1875- Edward McNight Brawley becomes the first black student to attend the University. After graduation, Brawley becomes president and co-founder of Selma University and Morris College in Alabama.
1883- Aaron Puller becomes the second black male to graduate from Bucknell and later goes on to become a college dean
1885- William Granger becomes the third black to graduate from Bucknell. Later Granger goes on to receive an M.D. degree, start a private practice and become a school principal.
1886- Albert Pegues becomes the fourth black to graduate from Bucknell; Pegues went on to become a college dean and supervisor at the School for the Blind in Washington, DC.
1898- James Diggs was the fifth African American to graduate From Bucknell. Later in life, Diggs becomes a college president.
1899- The university stages a performance of Stage Dance, a play that included black faced characters.
NOTE: Only five black male students graduated from Bucknell before the year 1900.
1903- Robert Josiah Terrel is the first black man to integrate a Greek organization, Alpha Sigma, and the first black to have his picture featured in the Bucknell school yearbook.
1924- Bucknell graduates its first black woman, Helen Evelyn Holmes.
1949- Bucknell graduates its second and third black women, Jeannette Mahanajh and Myra Thomas.
1952- Bucknell graduates its fourth black woman, Beverly Dunston-Scott. Ms. Dunston-Scott is the second black woman allowed to live in the dormitories. In 1977, Ms. Dunston-Scott becomes a member of the Board of Trustees.
1958- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visits the Bucknell University campus.
NOTE: Bucknell begins to integrate its sports teams in 1960.
1960- Henry Livas is the first black man to play tennis at Bucknell.
1961- Richard Boddie becomes the first black male to run track at Bucknell.
1971- Bucknell hires its first black tenure-track faculty member, Professor Richard Smith in the English department.
1964- Frank Wood and Gil Homes are the first black males to integrate the swim team.
1973- The first black man to play basketball for Bucknell is Harvey Carter.
1977- Milton "Skip" Waddel is the first African American to play as a Bison on the Bucknell baseball diamond.
1978- Bucknell tenures and promotes its first black faculty member, Professor Richard Smith, in the English department.
1979- Albert McKnight becomes the first black man to grace the Bucknell’s lacrosse field as a team member.
1983- 7th Street House is designated as the women's African American Studies House and Edwards House is designated as the men's African American studies house.
Wrestler Thomas Scotton ('78) and distance runner Thomas McLean ('78) become the first two blacks inducted into the Bucknell Sports Hall of Fame.
Three black women Bucknell students, having pledged through Millersville University, are initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
NOTE: As of the year 1983, black women had integrated three of the University's varsity sports teams; basketball, swimming, and track & field.
1985- Students organize to combat institutional racism by hosting "Speak Out," an open demonstration and deliverance of The Black Student Manifesto. (The Bucknellian, 1985)
1987- Bucknell establishes the Race/Gender Resource Center with the mission of creating a curriculum that is more inclusive of issues of race and gender.
Debra Russell-Brown becomes the first black woman to participate on the Bucknell Swim Team.
1988- Ed Robinson ('86) writes to the Bucknell Alumni Association asking them to consider the creation of a Black Alumni Association that would represent Bucknell's current students and alumni of color.
Sigma Chi Fraternity hosts a party were whites students dress up as blacks: "On Friday night October 28th, from eleven until two in the morning, a group of white males, brothers of Sigma Chi Fraternity, painted their bodies black, placed matted, frizzy wigs on their heads, and dressed in basketball uniforms, parading around the Sigma Chi basement as the Harlem Globetrotters." (Taken from The Bucknellian, Nov. 4 1988 issue)
1989- The STEP Program (Student Transfer Enrichment Program) is a diversity program started by a group of Bucknell faculty and a Vice President of Academic Affairs. It is funded by a five-year grant. There are five colleges, including Bucknell, who apply for and receive the grant funds, but after a year or so, Bucknell is the only school that still has a program running. The overall goal of the program is to enhance diversity. Due to the passion and support of the individuals involved, overall, the STEP program is successful. It brings in some top diverse students who excel at Bucknell. Many of these students earn academic honors at Bucknell and go on to be accepted into top Ph.D. programs. Not only is racial diversity enhanced, by also life experience and community experience are enhanced since many of the students are older. Some bring children with them. The STEP program eventually evolves into the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.
Four young men of color, Michael G. Mackay ('92), Alvin McCoy III ('90), Robert E. Chambers, Jr. ('91) and N. Scott Gunn ('91) were initiated, through an active chapter at East Stroudsburg University, into Kappa Alpha Psi. Fraternity, Inc.
NOTE: There are nine historically black fraternities and sororities; of these, three have officially made Bucknell their home. The first two such organizations were Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (Iota Gamma Chapter) and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. The third to establish a charter to Bucknell University is Kappa Alpha Psi. Fraternity, Inc. (Xi Kappa, 1992). As previously mentioned, female students interested in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. have traveled off campus to pledge through chapters at other universities. No official charter exists for the sorority at Bucknell. Through an interview with Bucknell alum, Larnie Booker ('91), who was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi during his time at Bucknell, I discovered that at one point all of the "divine nine" black fraternities and sororities once inhabited the Bucknell Campus grounds. [MC]
1990- Critically acclaimed black writer/producer Spike Lee visits Bucknell University.
1992- Grammy award-winning black saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis plays in the Weis Center.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. hosts the 1st Annual Bucknell Invitational Step Competition.
1993- Hugh Masekela, South African trumpet player, performs in the Weis Center.
1994- Bucknell tenures and promotes its first black woman faculty member, Professor Leslie Patrick in the History department.
1996- Afaa Weaver serves as Bucknell's first black Stadler Center for Poetry Poet-in-Residence.
1999- A joint charter is established for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. between Bucknell University and Bloomsburg University.
2002- Bucknell inaugurates the Janet Weis Prize for Contemporary Letters by honoring Toni Morrison, the only living American Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Sonia Sanchez serves as the Stadler Center for Poetry Poet-in-Residence.
2005- Bucknell enters into a relationship with the Posse Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting diversity efforts at institutions of higher education. Bucknell enrolls its first group of Posse Scholars from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Bucknell establishes the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender with the mission of "supporting faculty development, scholarship, and interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration around issues of race, ethnicity, and gender and their intersection with other areas of difference."
Robertoa Reed '07 becomes the first African American Bucknell student/woman to run for Lewisburg Borough Council.
2006- Bucknell partners with the Jack Kemp Cooke Foundation to expand the STEP program into the Bucknell Community College Scholars program. Bucknell receives funding from the Cooke foundation for five years. The support was renewed for an additional year based on the success of the program. Faculty member Professor Joel T. Wade serves as the Academic Director of the program. The Cooke Foundation provides money for financial aid for students who transfer to Bucknell. Like STEP, the program has been very successful in bringing in diverse students who have excelled at Bucknell.
2007- Bucknell expands partnership with the Posse Foundation to include a second posse cohort from the Boston area.
Bucknell honors poet and Nobel Laureate in Literature Derek Walcott with the Janet Weis Prize for Contemporary Letters.
Bucknell honors Beverly Dunston-Scott ('52) with the Alumni Association Award for Service to Humanity.
2008- Marissa Calhoun ('10) becomes the first black woman to sit on the Bucknell University Alumni Board as a student representative.
2009- Bucknell honors novelist, short story writer, essayist John Edgar Wideman with the Janet Weis Prize for Contemporary Letters.
The rising senior class of 2010 elects Bucknell's first black student government senior class president, Langston Tingling Clemmons.
Tim Siebles serves as the Stadler Center for Poetry Poet-in-Residence.
A student initiated forum is held in response to an increase in controversial speakers brought to the University. Of the speakers discussed were Anti-Islamic Activist Hirsi Ali and F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa.
Organized by Mahdi Woodard ('09) and black faculty, 47 black students organize a silent protest against racially insensitive and apathetic attitudes at Bucknell. The students sat in quietly on a presentation given by Star Parker, author and self-proclaimed "welfare queen." At the conclusion of the speech students filed out of the LC Forum auditorium "two-by-two" in a display of their disapproval.
Jessica Skinner ('09) presents a self-directed documentary entitled "Black life at Bucknell" to the campus body.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. celebrates 20 years of excellence and achievement under the Xi Kappa Chapter of Bucknell University, welcoming in five new initiates under their Spring 2009 line: Aj Kizekai ('10), Brandon Simmons ('10), Rashod Bumpers ('10), Nick McLeod ('11), Reshiad Jessup ('12).
2010- Professor Angele Kingue selected as the first David Morton and Leanne Freas Trout Professor of French and Francophone Studies.
Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Natasha Tretheway serves as the Stadler Center for Poetry Poet-in-Residence.
Bucknell expands partnership with the Posse Foundation to include a third posse cohort from the Los Angeles area. Bucknell is the only university, other than the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to have three posse cohort groups.
Bucknell establishes the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, which has as its focus faculty and student intellectual and creative engagement with the interdisciplinary investigation of the cultures, histories, narratives, peoples, geographies and arts of Africa and the African diaspora.
Created in partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff, an international engineering firm, the Engineering Success Alliance (ESA) begins by assisting 14 members of the Class of 2014. The program provides targeted tutoring to engineering students who did not have access to a strong education in mathematics before enrolling at Bucknell. George Pierson, president and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff, has committed $250,000 in start-up funding. Parsons Brinckerhoff and Bucknell are seeking to raise an additional $1 million in private funding to fully endow the program so that it is self-sustaining.
2011- As speakers in the Bucknell Forum Series Creativity: Beyond the Box, Bucknell welcomes to campus civil rights activist and historian Bernice Johnson Reagon and Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat. Both speakers are MacArthur Fellows.
Janet Bauer Hartman, parent of a 2000 Bucknell graduate, establishes the Bauer Scholarship, which provides four years of no-loan, full-need scholarship for several students from the Baltimore area in each incoming class. A gift of $1 million made through the Charles T. Bauer Foundation established the program and covers a portion of each student's tuition and feeds. The University pays the balance but is working to raise enough additional funding to fully endow the program. In creating the scholarship program, the Hartmans saw an opportunity to help talented local teenagers while advancing Bucknell's goal of increasing campus diversity.
The Teagle Foundation awards a $300,000 grant to Bucknell University, Dickinson College, and Lafayette College for a cooperative project aimed at enhancing diversity and diversity education. The funds will be used to improve students' academic and co-curricular experinces on campus.
2012-2013- After 19 years of service in Bucknell's International Relations Department, Professor Hilbourne Watson retires at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey chose Professor Shara McCallum for this year's Witter Bynner Fellowship, a government‐sponsored award for the promotion of poetry, along with Sharon Dolin. Professor McCallum read her poetry at the James Madison Building in Washington D.C. on April 2nd, 2013.