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African Americans

Spring 2005

Anna Grant—A life of firsts

Anna Harvin Grant, the first woman to earn a doctorate in sociology from Washington State University, died November 6, 2004, of heart failure. She was 81.

A nationally recognized expert in Black family life and former chair of the Department of Sociology at Morehouse College, Grant led a life of firsts.

She came to Pullman with a wave of top African American scholars who in the early 1950s were recruited to WSU’s new doctoral program in sociology. At the time the Ph.D. program was starting, several administrators with connections to predominantly Black colleges in the south put out a call to “send us your best … » More …

Fall 2009

S.R. Martin Jr.—A life in the West

“Rudy” Martin started out with a plan to collect the history of his family from its Texas roots to his home in Washington. It was at first a project for himself and his children. But the American studies scholar yearned for context, color, and regional history. He had to build a more complete story. He sought out distant family members, dove into ancient county records, and culled through population research in his quest to understand how he and his family have been shaped by race, religion, and, most importantly, place.

His book, On the Move: A Black Family’s Western Saga, is not simply a memoir, … » More …

Fall 2009

A player to be reckoned with

On October 2, 1954, a day shy of his 21st birthday, fullback Carl Talmadge “Duke” Washington ’59 and his fellow Cougars played the University of Texas on a sweltering day at Memorial Stadium.

The result was a 40-14 Texas victory, a forgettable day in the annals of Cougar football; however, the day reaches far beyond the athletics history of Washington State and Texas.

Washington, the starting fullback for the Cougars, became the first African-American to play at Memorial Stadium. To the Texas players, however, Washington was not a player making history, but a player to be reckoned with.

“I’m sure it did make a difference … » More …

Spring 2008

What I've learned since college: An interview with Johnnetta B. Cole-anthropologist, author, activist

Johnnetta B. Cole launched her career as an educator and activist at Washington State University in 1964. While in Pullman, she taught anthropology, helped found the Black Studies Program, and served as the program’s first director. In 1970 she was named Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. After leaving Pullman, she held a number of teaching and administrative positions at several East Coast schools. In 1987 she became the first African American woman to be president of Spelman College, the country’s oldest college for African American women. In 1992 Cole landed in the national spotlight as a cluster coordinator on President-Elect Bill Clinton’s transition team … » More …

Summer 2002

The Cayton Legacy: An African American Family

Set in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, The Cayton Legacy chronicles the evolution of a remarkable African American family. From the Civil War to the present, generations of the Horace and Susie Cayton family helped illuminate the black and white experience and the troubled course of race relations in the United States.

The Caytons sought to define themselves in relation to their family traditions and to society as a whole. In the process, the distinguished family attained financial success and influence, both regionally and nationally. Family members published newspapers, wrote books, and were elected to public office. They worked for civil and human … » More …

Summer 2002

Future teachers of color

The gap between minority teachers—about 6 percent—and minority school children—about 24 percent—is widening in Washington. As part of a move to remedy this situation, 176 high school and community college students attended the College of Education’s Future Teachers of Color conference at Washington State University in mid-February.

The conference has become very popular statewide, says Johnny Jones, the college’s director of recruitment and retention and coordinator of the program. The program has a waiting list of 120 students.

Since the FTOC program was created at WSU in 1994, undergraduate enrollment in the college has increased from five to more than 100. Fifteen FTOC graduates are … » More …