New Book Examines the History of African Americans at the College of William & Mary

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is one of several of the nation’s oldest universities that have mounted efforts to examine the institutions’ ties to slavery. (See JBHE post.)

The university has also mounted an effort to document the history of African American students on campus. A new book – Building on the Legacy: African Americans at William & Mary – is authored by Jacquelyn McLendon, professor of English, emerita. Organized chronologically, Professor McLendon explores the gradual advancement of Black people at the university along with information about the first undergraduate African-American students in residence, who arrived in 1967. She also tracks the history of African Americans among the faculty and in administrative leadership roles at William & Mary.

“This book is not about black people as victims,” Professor McLendon said. “Some of the stories are told in terms of some of the hardships and challenges, but the book mainly shows the contributions Black people have made to William & Mary. We have contributed to better the place, and that’s what people need to know. We give to this university, and we belong here. That was an essential, driving force for me, finding those stories.”

Dr. McLendon is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Related Articles


  1. Mr. Hulon Willis was one of the first Black graduates at William and Mary. Was his life and contributions discussed in your research

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Fayetteville State University Establishes Transfer Agreement with Wake Technical Community College

The new partnership will provide qualified students from Wake Technical Community College with guaranteed admission to Fayetteville State University upon completion of their associate's degree.

Three Black Scholars Taking On New Faculty Positions

The faculty appointments are James Haywood Rolling Jr. at Syracuse University in New York, Elias Towe at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Roderic Pettigrew at Texas A&M University.

Howard University Receives Record-Breaking 36,000 Applicants for Class of 2028

The class of 2028 applicant pool at Howard University increased by 4,000 applications compared to last year's class of 2027. This year, the university's acceptance rate was roughly 31 percent, down five percentage points from last year.

Laquala Dixon Honored by National Association of Student Personnel Administrators for Service as HBCU Liaison

A member of the NASPA since 2013, Dr. Dixon was honored with the 2024 Sankofa Award for her commitment and contributions to the organization as the HBCU liaison for the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community.

Featured Jobs