Black History Month: First African-American who graduated from U - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Black History Month: First African-American who graduated from ULM

Posted: Updated:

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - February is black history month. In addition to heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, there are pioneers here in the Ark-La-Miss. Our Nolan Crane spoke with the first African-American who graduated from ULM and he says the hardest part of school were not the test but learning to overcome racism.

Getting an education and continuing to learn has always been a hobby for Donald Smith who graduated 46 years ago. In 1968 the library didn't exist, the campus name was Northeast Louisiana State College, not ULM and the student body wasn't as mixed as it is today.

"We had about eight blacks attending school and I enjoyed part of it but most of it I didn't," said Smith.

Donald Smith hit the books hard earning his degree in social studies. As he accepted his diploma, he became the first African-American to graduate from ULM but some of his classmates made it difficult for him.

"We were having some problems with the kids calling us names," said Smith.

Smith says it was hard to get help from some of the faculty and even the school's president.

"He told us that if it was up to him, we would be out here and he didn't help us at all," said Smith.

With determination, will power and thick skin Smith is able to help mentor and encourage other students to achieve their dreams when they face adversity.

"He wouldn't have stayed in school had it not been for me. He figured if I made it, he could make it too," said Smith.

Donald Smith went on to earn a Ph.D. and he taught women's sports at Carroll Junior High School. He has since retired and lives in Monroe.

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Black bear plays hide-and-seek in Winnsboro

    Black bear plays hide-and-seek in Winnsboro

    Sunday, August 31 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:16:24 GMT
    WINNSBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - One KNOE viewer sent in some cute video of what looks to be a Louisiana Black Bear hanging out in a rice field.
    WINNSBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - One KNOE viewer sent in some cute video of what looks to be a Louisiana Black Bear hanging out in a rice field.
  • Second arrest made in April 2013 murder

    Second arrest made in April 2013 murder

    Saturday, August 30 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:00:56 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A second arrest has been made in the April 2013 murder of Steve Brown.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A second arrest has been made in the April 2013 murder of Steve Brown.
  • US judge blocks enforcement of new La abortion law

    US judge blocks enforcement of new La abortion law

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:02 AM EDT2014-09-01 04:02:42 GMT
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.
  • Two women arrested on conspiracy, fraud and forgery

    Two women arrested on conspiracy, fraud and forgery

    Saturday, August 30 2014 7:21 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:21:06 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Two Monroe women have been arrested for multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and forgery. West Monroe Police say former Cash Time employee Kisha Scott allegedly set up several fake accounts in order to get hundreds of dollars from each one.' Police report Mary Mustin helped Scott steal the money.  
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Two Monroe women have been arrested for multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and forgery. West Monroe Police say former Cash Time employee Kisha Scott allegedly set up several fake accounts in order to get hundreds of dollars from each one.' Police report Mary Mustin helped Scott steal the money.  
  • Louisiana police arrest man in Montana killing

    Louisiana police arrest man in Montana killing

    Sunday, August 31 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:06:59 GMT
    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Shreveport police say a two-day manhunt has brought the arrest of a 27-year-old man accused in Montana of killing a homeless man.
    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Shreveport police say a two-day manhunt has brought the arrest of a 27-year-old man accused in Montana of killing a homeless man.
  • San Antonio man shoots two children during domestic dispute

    San Antonio man shoots two children during domestic dispute

    Sunday, August 31 2014 2:47 PM EDT2014-08-31 18:47:50 GMT
    SAN ANTONIO, Tx. (KENS) - A shooting in southeast San Antonio left two children riddled with gunshot wounds Saturday.
    SAN ANTONIO, Tx. (KENS) - A shooting in southeast San Antonio left two children riddled with gunshot wounds Saturday.
  • Search Engine benipal Launches Online Marketplace

    Search Engine benipal Launches Online Marketplace

    Search Engine benipal.com announces the launch of its Online Marketplace offering individuals, sellers and merchants a unique venue to showcase and sell their New and Used products online. Offering simple, easy...
    Search Engine benipal.com announces the launch of its Online Marketplace offering individuals, sellers and merchants a unique venue to showcase and sell their New and Used products online. Offering simple, easy product...
  • 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL

    49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:30:05 GMT
    San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL after a series of off-field legal issues.
    The San Francisco 49ers have been preparing for months to play on without Aldon Smith over an extended period.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.