1950s

1953

Boston University’s African Studies Program officially begins (it later took the name African Research and Studies Program).

Howard Thurman (Hon.’67) is named Dean of Marsh Chapel, becoming the first black dean in a predominantly white university.

1955

Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) receives his PhD from Boston University. After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1964, he donates his papers to the Special Collections (now called the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center).

1957

Douglas E. Moore (STH’53) leads a sit-in in Durham, NC.

1958

Louis Wade Sullivan graduates from BU School of Medicine, later founding the Morehouse School of Medicine and becoming Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush.

1959

Barbara Jordan, future member of the US House of Representatives, graduates from the BU School of Law.

While a BU student-athlete, John Thomas (SED’63) becomes the first person to high-jump seven feet

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