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>>

  • 28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    28 Monroe area businesses cited for selling to minors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:51:09 GMT
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
    Baton Rouge, La. (KNOE 8 News ATC) - Agents with the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control recently conducted compliance checks at 173 businesses in the Monroe and West Monroe areas. During those compliance checks, 28 of the businesses, which consist of area restaurants, bars and convenience stores, were caught selling alcohol and tobacco products to minors.
  • Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Two arrests, officer tazed at Watermelon Festival

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:41 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:41:59 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News UPSO) - Union Parish sheriff’s deputies made at least two arrests over the Watermelon Festival weekend, one that involved a deputy getting tazed.
  • Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Union Parish School District employees get a raise

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:17:56 GMT
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
    FARMERVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's Christmas in July for the Union Parish School Board employees. At this month's school board meeting, the board voted to give every employee a raise. 
  • West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    West Monroe man arrested for meth possession

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:09:38 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - West Monroe Police arrested a man early Sunday morning for possession of drugs.
  • McDonald's could lose "franchise" protection

    McDonald's could lose "franchise" protection

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:17:44 GMT
    (AP) - Under pressure from a barrage of lawsuits seeking fair treatment and wages, McDonald's could be on the verge of losing one of its main protections.
    (AP) - Under pressure from a barrage of lawsuits seeking fair treatment and wages, McDonald's could be on the verge of losing one of its main protections.
  • 17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    17 hurt after multi-vehicle Madison Parish wreck

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:16:12 GMT
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
    DELTA, La. (AP) - A multiple-vehicle accident on the Mississippi River bridge connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, and Warren County, Mississippi, has sent 17 people to a hospital, most with minor injuries.
  • Passenger dies on US Airways flight to Phoenix

    Passenger dies on US Airways flight to Phoenix

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:18:01 GMT
    PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities in Phoenix say a passenger has died on a US Airways flight to Phoenix from Honolulu after a suffering an unknown medical emergency.
    PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities in Phoenix say a passenger has died on a US Airways flight to Phoenix from Honolulu after a suffering an unknown medical emergency.
  • Top Ebola doctor dies from the virus

    Top Ebola doctor dies from the virus

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:33:58 GMT
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
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.