University of Cincinnati's Black History

A trip though UC's historic people, places, and events

University of Cincinnati's Black History

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, United States

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Tour Information

This tour will take you through some of UC's important people, places, and events relevant to black history. We present some pioneers like Jennie Davis porter, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at UC and one of three in all of the US at the time.

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What You'll See on the Tour

Jennie Daivis Porter was born in 1876 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was an undertaker and her mother was a school teacher. In 1893, Davis graduated from Hughes High School in the West End. She then followed in her mother’s footsteps to ... Read more
In 1935, Lucy Oxley became the first African American woman to earn an MD from UC’s College of Medicine. She was among the top fifteen and the only woman or person of color in her class. Throughout her time at UC, Oxley faced constant dis... Read more
Oscar Robertson was the first African American to play on UC’s basketball team. In 1960, UC’s yearbook The Cincinnatian declared: “‘The fabulous Oscar Robertson’ —the greatest athlete ever to participate for the University of Ci... Read more
After the fatal shooting of local Black resident Samuel Dubose during a routine traffic stop on July 19, 2015, a UC student group called “The Irate 8” formed to address systemic racism on UC’s campus and spread awareness of the UC Bla... Read more
African American scholar Dr. P. Eric Abercrumbie worked for the University of Cincinnati for decades, he came to UC as a counselor and cultural sensitivity trainer in 1972, and went on to become the Program Coordinator for the Office of Min... Read more
Everett Howard was an eighteen-year-old Black student studying at the University of Cincinnati’s Upward Bound Program in the summer of 2011. Upward Bound is a program for high school students that provides summer academic support for mino... Read more
In 1947, at the age of 16, Darwin T. Turner became the youngest student to ever graduate from the University of Cincinnati. This is an impressive accomplishment for anyone, but more impressive because Turner was a Black man. Turner graduate... Read more
On Sunday, January 17, 1982, the night before the school holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., Sigma Alpha Epsilon sponsored a Martin Luther King Jr. “trash party.” Flyers that encouraged attendees to bring canceled welfare checks, “you... Read more
Dr. Loretta C. Manggrum became the first to graduate as an African American woman from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a Master’s degree in 1953 at the age of 57. In order to support her family in her teenage years, she pl... Read more
Between 1960 and 1972 the University of Cincinnati was the site of federal government-funded human radiation experiments designed to investigate how radiation impacts human beings. The founder of the nuclear medicine program at UC, Dr. Euge... Read more
Established in 1985, the Racial Awareness Pilot Program (RAPP) is a nine-month-long social justice focused racial awareness program. This program was founded after insensitive statements by the white student government president recommendin... Read more
Sinna Habteselassie was the first African American student body president at the University of Cincinnati in 2018. Between March of 2018 and April of 2019, Habteselassie represented over 36,000 undergraduates. As the student body president,... Read more
Civil Rights activist Marian Spencer became the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1983. Born in 1920, Spencer was inspired to work on civil rights by growing up in a racially integrated, but internally segre... Read more
The Quadres Society was a club of UC students founded in 1935 by Donald Spencer (husband of Marian Spencer). The Quadres sought to promote Black inclusion in extracurricular activities at UC during a time of segregation in campus organizati... Read more
Charles McMicken, born 1782, was the founding donor of the University of CIncinnati. He was also an enslaver. McMicken lived for much of his life in Louisiana where slaves ran his household and where he transacted property sales in both lan... Read more
Born in 1909, Dr. Vera Clement Edwards grew up in Texas where her local school administrators did not support integrated colleges. After she earned her Bachelor’s degree from the segregated Prairie View College, in Prairie View Texas, she... Read more
Lawrence C. Hawkins was born in 1919 to South Carolina sharecroppers and moved to Cincinnati in 1926. Hawkins earned a Bachelor's degree in education at the University of Cincinnati in 1942. After graduation, Hawkins joined the army and ser... Read more
Ralph Belsinger attended UC from 1911 to 1915 and was the university’s first African American athlete. He ran for the track team for all four years at UC, participating in relay events and running the mile. Belsinger was known for his spe... Read more
In the early 1900s African American UC students were excluded from fraternities and sororities on most campuses across the nation. In 1920, the first African American Greek organizations, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha frate... Read more
Willard Stargel (not to be confused with Willie Stargell of MLB fame) was a popular student athlete who began his college athletics career in 1942 and eventually became a star player on the UC football, basketball, and track teams. Willard ... Read more
In 1969, the United Black Association (UBA) occupied the university’s administration building to force the University of Cincinnati to evaluate the ways Black students were being treated on campus. The takeover started at 11:00 a.m. and l... Read more


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