Dickinson College Apologizes for 1940s Racial Slight

Esther Popel Shaw and her daughter Patricia

Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, recently bestowed a posthumous honorary degree on Esther Popel Shaw, who in 1919 was the first African American women to graduate from the college. Shaw graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on to a career as a poet and a member of the Harlem renaissance. Shaw died in 1958 at the age of 61.

In presenting the honorary degree, Dickinson President William G. Durden apologized to Shaw’s descendents, several who were present at the ceremony, for a racial slight that occurred in the 1940s. Patricia Shaw Iverson, the only daughter of the college’s first Black woman alumna, came to Dickinson on the recommendation of her mother. The college admitted her but refused to allow her to live on campus. As a result, Iverson decided to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

President Durden stated, “There was an injustice committed by the college leadership decades ago against this family. This action was plain wrong by any humane or moral standard. I wish to acknowledge publicly this wrong and apologize to the family members present on behalf of Dickinson College.”

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roles in Higher Education

The appointments to diversity positions are Tamara Clegg at the University of Maryland, Andrew Alvez at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Kendriana Price at the University of Kentucky.

Study Finds Women of Color Author a Disproportionate Share of Banned Books in American Schools

In the 2021-2022 academic year, school and libraries across the country experienced a significant spike in book bans. A new study has found a disproportionate share of these banned books are written by women of color and include characters from diverse backgrounds.

Christopher Davis Appointed President of LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis

Dr. Davis was appointed interim president of LeMoyne-Owen College last summer. Over the past year, he has led the college through a rebranding initiative, an increase in athletic programming, and improvements to campus infrastructure.

Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Use of Social Security Disability Insurance

According to the report, Black Americans are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to receive Social Security Disability Insurance, and spend roughly 40 percent more on medical care than White Americans.

Featured Jobs