In the early 1960s, two Black students filed a lawsuit seeking admission to the graduate programs at Tulane University in New Orleans. They lost the suit. But in 1963, the Tulane University board of trustees decided to admit Black students to graduate programs.
Recently, the School of Social Work celebrated the 50th anniversary of its racial desegregation by holding a workshop featuring several of the first Black students to enroll at the university. Among the panelists were Gloria Bryant Banks, a 1964 graduate who worked for the Louisiana Department of Social Services, Pearlie Hardin Elloie, one of the two original plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking to force racial integration, and Marilyn Piper Riley, a 1964 graduate who went on to serve as head of child protection services for the state of Louisiana.
The three graduates of the master of social work program are featured in a new documentary film on the desegregation of Tulane University. A segment of that film can be seen below.