The Mercer University Community joined the rest of the nation in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this week. The university is gearing up for another 50th anniversary. In just a few weeks, Mercer will commemorate its 50th anniversary of integration.
On September 20th, 1963, Mercer became the first private college in Georgia to voluntarily integrate, with its first three black students. Marilyn Mindingall, senior vice provost for administration and special programs at Mercer, says the three young men were each unique in their experience on campus. "You have to imagine Sam Oni, an African, who came to Mercer and lived on campus. And then you’ve got someone like Cecil Duberry who was a transfer student. He had done 2 years at Fort Valley and then transferred into Mercer and ultimately became the first black graduate." There was also Maconite Benny Stevens who rounded out the trio that year.
The University will mark the occasion on September 20th with a special convocation in which civil rights pioneer Andrew Young will speak.