Texas Tech Graduation 50 Spring Semesters Ago Was Different for African Americans

In the spring of 1964 Ophelia Powell-Malone of Littlefield became the first African-American to receive a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech.
LUBBOCK, TX -- May 17 and 18 was graduation weekend on the campus of Texas Tech University, but 50 years ago the graduation ceremony was historic. In the spring of 1964 Ophelia Powell-Malone of Littlefield became the first African-American to receive a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech.

According to today.ttu.edu Powell earned a degree in in home economics with a concentration in home nursing and health care.

Today.ttu.edu also quoted an article from the Daily Toreador in February 1955 and said, “During a student debate, 35 percent of the student/faculty audience was against integration.”

Tech became integrated in 1961 after several federal court cases ruled students could not be denied admission on the basis of their race.

“She was independent, and when her mind was made up, her mind was made up,” Maurice Powell said of his late sister. “She truly believed that anyone can make anything of themselves if they want to succeed. She wanted to prove to others that if she could graduate in spite of her conditions, then anyone can.”

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