Florida State University to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Its Racial Integration

Florida State University in Tallahassee is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the racial integration of the university. Later this month, the university will hold a three-day event on campus honoring the university’s first Black students. Scheduled events include a 1,500-person human chain around the Integration Statue on the Florida State campus. Poet Maya Angelou will give the keynote address of celebration.

Maxwell Courtney receiving his degree in 1965.

Florida State admitted Black students in 1962 without the racial violence and federal intervention that occurred at several other state-operated universities in the South. In 1965 Maxwell Courtney became the first Black student to earn a degree at Florida State.

Today, there about 3,500 Black undergraduate students at Florida State University. They graduate at a very high rate that is nearly equal to the rate for White students at the university. Florida State ranks among the top 15 universities nationwide in the awarding of doctoral degrees to African Americans.

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  1. Although I attended the neighboring Florida A&M University, I am pleased to read about Florida State University integration efforts. I have many students of all races attending FSU. They feel comfortable and have the ability to compete and graduate. Moreover, their CARE program, which mentors minority students, is among the best for a public and non-HBCU. Congrats on 50 years!

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