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.
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.