Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green has renamed a campus building to honor its first Black graduate. A residence hall on campus now bears the name of Margaret Munday, who was the first Black student to enroll at the university in 1956 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music and elementary education in 1960. Munday is the first African-American to have a building on campus named in her honor.
A native of Logan County, Kentucky, Munday became the pianist at Macedonia Baptist Church at the age of 10. Seventy-five years later, she continues to serve in that role.
As the first Black student at WKU, Munday studied music and was a member of the Western Chorus. The university hired an officer to serve as a bodyguard for Munday. She did not realize she was being followed for her first three weeks on campus. She reported that her student peers were very welcoming but some of her instructors were not.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Munday went on to teach at the all-Black Johnstown School in Olmstead, Kentucky. She then became the first Black teacher at Auburn High School. Munday taught music in Logan County for more than 30 years before retiring in 1995.
“I would say if you’re trying to reach a goal and you run into some turbulence, climb above it. You can’t throw in the towel. I had plenty of times to do that, but I did not,” Munday said. “It’s something that can’t anybody take away from you. It’s about the best thing I know, to get an education, if you can.”