Missouri State University to Honor Mary Price Walls

School rejected the salutatorian for admission 60 years ago because of her race.


Missouri State University is doing the right thing. Mary Price Walls graduated as salutatorian of her high school. She was the first black person to apply for admission to Missouri State University, and never heard back. MSU now admits that Wells was denied admission because she was black. This was a common practice at mainstream universities during segration and the civil rights era. Walls, who wanted to become a schoolteacher, spent her life working as an elevator operator and a janitor. This year, the university will bestow an honorary undergraduate degree to Walls, the first in the history of the school. We wonder how many blacks were denied admission to mainstream universities throughout history. Certainly more than we'd like to imagine. An honorary degree for Walls definitely falls into our better-late-than-never category.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

--Nsenga K. Burton

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