The Legal Battle Over Desegregating Rice

Black at Rice: Living the Black Student Experience

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The Legal Battle Over Desegregating Rice

A Zoom Webinar - Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 - 6-7:30 p.m.
Zoom ID: 953 1693 0384 - Passcode: 811035

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On Sept. 26, 1962, the Rice Board of Governors (now Board of Trustees) unanimously passed a resolution to desegregate the university, changing course from Rice’s 50–year practice of exclusively admitting white students. Rice’s segregated campus was not simply an administrative decision, but also a legally binding provision of the 1891 Rice Institute charter. To officially desegregate the university, Rice filed a lawsuit seeking to amend its charter, but progress was delayed when a group of alumni intervened in court. The legal battle would continue from 1963–1967, however, a trial verdict paved the way for Rice’s first Black student, Ph.D. candidate Raymond Johnson, to enroll in 1964.

This panel will explore the legal and historical details of the lawsuit, as well as the broader movement to desegregate educational institutions through litigation.


Megan Francis ’03
Associate professor of political science,
University of Washington

Steven H. Wilson ’86
Assistant provost of academic affairs and registrar,
Lehigh University

Michael A. Olivas
W. B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law (Emeritus),
UH Law Center

Moderator and Panelist:

Akilah Mance ’05
General counsel, Houston Forensic
Science Center