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The struggle over desegregation at Furman

2014 Fall High Noon Schedule

Dr. Steve O'Neill

Dr. Steve O’Neill

On Jan. 29, 1965, Joseph Vaughn became Furman University’s first African-American undergraduate student.  That date marked the turning point in a debate that divided the campus for more than a decade and changed the university’s culture forever.

Furman history professor Steve O’Neill will look back at Furman’s efforts to desegregate its student body and the challenges the university faced when he speaks at the university’s High Noon fall lecture series Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman.

His lecture—“Who Speaks for Furman: The Struggle over Desegregation, 1955-1965”—begins at noon.

Furman is commemorating the 50th anniversary of desegregation at the university throughout the school year.  Dr. O’Neill will talk about how tensions over race at Furman mirrored divisions in South Carolina and the nation, but also how the battle over desegregation raised questions about power and free speech within the university.

O’Neill’s talk is the seventh of eight consecutive lectures presented by Furman professors during the fall.  All lectures are free and begin at noon on Wednesdays.

The Upcountry History Museum/Furman is located at 540 Buncombe Street in downtown Greenville’s Heritage Green area.

For more information, contact Furman’s Marketing and Public Relations office at 864-294-2185 or e-mail Marie Newman-Rogers at

Last updated October 31, 2014
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director