"The more you know of your History, the more Liberated you are."
George W. McLaurin, born on September 16, 1894, was the first African-American to attend the University of Oklahoma. Though he received his master's degree from the University of Kansas,
he earned his B.A., taught and retired from a predominantly black College, Langston University.
In 1948, George McLaurin applied to the University of Oklahoma for his graduate degree and, like many African American students during that time, he was denied admission only on the basis that he was black. He took his issue to federal court and won admission to Oklahoma University.
To comply with segregation laws, President George Lynn Cross arranged for McLaurin's classes to be held in a designated space, away from the white students while still attending all his classes. The only African American student out of 12,174 total, George McLaurin was forced to sit in a corner far from his white classmates. Other rules that were implemented promoted segregation including but we’re not limited to special seating areas at the cafeteria, sporting events and separate restroom facilities. For two years, he took his classes from that closet at University of Oklahoma.
September 16,1894-September 4,1968
Understanding that the treatment he experienced was not equal, McLaurin filed a suit stating that these conditions deprived him of equality. McLaurin-vs-Oklahoma State Regents was an important case in history because it was one of the first cases that attempted to combat the "separate but equal" provision in the Plessy-vs-Ferguson case. McLaurin v Oklahoma showed how the "separate but equal" provision can still be manipulated in a way that discriminates against individuals on the basis of race. In 1950 a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that McLaurin had not received equal treatment as required by the Constitution. George McLaurin ultimately left the university after only two semesters. His case, however, would prove a key precedent in the national fight against segregation, paving the way for the landmark 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which established that separate was inherently unequal in all levels of education. His name remains on the honor roll as one of the three best students of the university.
"Some colleagues would look at me like I was an animal, no one would give me a word, the teachers seemed like they were not even there for me, nor did they always take my questions when I asked. But I devoted myself so much that afterward, they began to look for me to give them explanations and to clear their questions," He stated.
Currently at Oklahoma University, there is a gathering named after George A. McLaurin on the campus called The George McLaurin Male Leadership Conference. The conference is mainly intended for the recruitment of first-generation college students, and particularly those within minority groups. George McLaurin died on September 4, 1968.
Remembering George McLaurin a BSMN Black Hero
Juneteenth is one of the biggest celebrations in Black history! June 19, 1865 in Galveston Texas, the last slaves were set free! Unfortunately, it came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln on recorded date January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the small number of Union troops to carry out the new Executive Order. Though, when General Lee surrendered in April of 1865, and the coming of General Granger’s regiment, the troops were finally strong enough to influence and to overcome their opposition....
Why did it take two and a half years?
Later attempts to explain why it took two and a half years for information to be delivered. It just doesn’t add up, right? Through history, there have been several versions of the story. One often told is the story of a messenger who was killed on his way to Texas with the news of the slaves’ new freedom. Another is one that isn’t hard to believe; it is said that the news was intentionally withheld by the enslavers to carry on the labor force on the plantations. Now, the last reason is a testament that "some people" will stick together no matter what, even in evilness. So, it is also said that the federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or none of these versions could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory,” shares Juneteenth.com, the official website he for this particular holiday.
Due to the persistent endeavors of Al Edwards, an American state legislator, on January 1 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday! Not yet a National holiday, but Awareness to Juneteenth is rapidly increasing. Every year since 1980, Blacks all over the nation celebrate in solidarity that “True Freedom for Blacks Come with Unity” - Shawn Cee