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Furman marks 50 years of desegregation

Joseph Vaughn

Furman University will hold a number of events marking 50 years of desegregation at the university. The first is a panel discussion, which will be held Wednesday, Feb.11 at 6:30 p.m. in Johns Hall 101 on campus.

“Breaking The Barrier: A Panel Discussion” is free and open to the public, and is part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program.

The panel will discuss the history of Joseph Vaughn, the first African American admitted to the university in 1965.

The discussion will be led by Furman history department professor Courtney Tollison-Hartness, Ph.D., and will feature panelists from Furman Class of 1971, the Honorable Xanthene Norris, the Honorable Lillian Brock Flemming, and Sarah Reese, and Dr. Harry Shucker, Class of 1966.

Other events commemorating 50 years of desegregation at Furman include:

“Progress, Pragmatism, and Power: Furman’s Struggle over Desegregation,” Thursday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Upcountry History Museum-Furman University. Furman history alumnus Brian Neumann presents talk with an introduction by Furman history professor Steve O’Neill, Ph.D. Part of the History After Dark series, the lecture is free to museum members, and regular museum admission for others. For more information about events at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman University, call (864) 467-3100 or email the museum at

Joseph Vaughn Scholarship Oratorical Competition, Saturday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Burgiss Theater and Watkins Room, Trone Student Center, Furman University campus. The event is sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Foundation. Contact Mike Chatman for more information,  or (864) 735-0880. Website:

Panel Discussion: Athletics and Desegregation, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Watkins Room, Trone Student Center, Furman University campus. Moderated by Furman’s Dr. Steve O’Neill, the panel examines the history of the desegregation of Furman’s athletic teams. The panel includes Furman’s Women’s Basketball head coach, Jackie Smith Carson, Class of 2000; former Furman basketball player, Clyde Mayes, Class of 1975; Furman’s first black football player, Rodney Acker, Class of 1973; and former Furman basketball player, basketball radio announcer, athletic director, and history professor Dr. John Block , Class of 1963. The event is part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program.

The Joseph Vaughn Scholarship Gala, Friday, April 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Upcountry History Museum-Furman University. Former Furman president David E. Shi presents the keynote address.

For more information about “Breaking the Barrier,” contact Roger Sneed, Ph.D., in the Furman Department of Religion, (864) 294- 3346, or Or contact the News and Information Office at (864) 294-3107.

Last updated February 5, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
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