The College of William and Mary to Honor Its First African American Residential Students

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is honoring its first group of African America residential students by placing a historical plaque on a wall on the outside of the Wren Building on campus. 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. They were the first African American women to graduate from the college.

The marble plaque will read in part: “We honor these brave African American women whose courage, conviction, strength, and resilience paved the way for others who have built on their legacy, enriching the life of William and Mary and changing it for the greater good.”

The three women will be honored at the college’s commencement ceremony this spring.

Lynn Briley, Janet Brown Strafer and Karen Ely

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