College of William and Mary Honoring the First Black Students Who Lived on Campus

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the first Black residential students on campus by creating a mural that will be permanently displayed at the university’s Swen Library.

In the fall of 1967, Lynn Briley, Karen Ely, and Janet Brown, became the first African American students to live in residential housing. All three graduated four years later in 1971. The three woman all came to the university last month to have bronze casts made of their faces, which will be included on the mural.

Bob Leek, a local Potter who participated in the creation of the bronze masks, stated that “this is an amazing process, and what we’re going to create is just going to be amazing; it’s just going to be very powerful.”

The mural will be unveiled on August 31. A video about the making of the masks of the three women can be seen below.


Related Articles


  1. This is a fascinating story about William and Mary’s integration pioneers, but it must be placed in the context of African American freshman enrolling at predominantly white campuses and moving into residence halls all over the United States in 1967. We had a very similar experience with a mix of freshmen and transfers at Millersville University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1968 when it was the first time this campus happened to have five African American males on campus who were matriculating and living in the residence halls. And I personally ran into other African American pioneers that had enrolled at predominantly white campuses even earlier in the sixties and stood against the tide of racist sentiment either by themselves or with one other African American student. All hail to the individual pioneers because their suffering I have shared, but let us remember that they were but a small part of a much larger movement which would go on and begin a transformation of higher education that continues until this day..

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

The new Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism will provide research opportunities and educational events for the Johns Hopkins University community. As part of the new program, the university has announced a new undergraduate major in critical diaspora studies.

Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection housed within the Chicago Public Library will soon be available online to the public thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

Featured Jobs