Each fall, a new freshman class of Black undergraduates enrolls at Duke. They enter an institution that Duke President Vincent Price has acknowledged has “often not fully embraced” its mission ”to be agents of progress in advancing racial equity and justice.” They encounter, according to Price, “systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the…

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Since this past summer, historically white universities throughout the nation have sought to reckon with their long histories of anti-Black racism. At Duke, president Vincent Price committed to taking “transformative action now toward eliminating the systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community.” Likewise…

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Book cover of Point of Reckoning by Theodore D. Segal

The photographs on the cover of POINT OF RECKONING: The Fight for Racial Justice at Duke University, designed by Matt Tauch, track the arc of desegregation and Black student activism at the school during the Sixties. The cover uses historical images from the Duke Archives that center on the events at Duke University but does…

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Wilhelmina Reuben, May Queen, 1967 (Duke University Archives)

On September 26, 2020, Duke University announced that the Sociology-Psychology Building on its West Campus was renamed the Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke Building to recognize Reuben-Cooke’s role as one of the “First Five” Black undergraduates at Duke and her many contributions to the university. A fitting honor, this recognition recalls a different time at Duke, one when…

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The Caroline Times Header

On May 5, 1939, Louis E. Austin visited the Duke University campus. Austin, the publisher and editor of The Carolina Times, the leading Black newspaper in North Carolina, observed a school undergoing rapid transformation. Only 15 years had passed since the gift from James B. Duke that transformed Trinity College into a prominent southern university.…

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On June 17, 2020, Duke president Vincent Price committed the university to taking “transformative action now toward eliminating the systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community.” He acknowledged that in the past Duke had “often not fully embraced” its mission “to be agents…

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On June 16, 2020 Duke’s Black students, faculty and staff spoke out about racism at the university during an all-day event called “Living While Black.” Held by videoconference, more than 6300 members of the Duke community attended. Soon thereafter, Duke president Vincent Price committed the university to taking “transformative action now toward eliminating the systems…

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