George W. McLaurin was the first black man admitted to the University of Oklahoma in 1948.
Initially, the university denied him entry to its graduate program in education, citing the segregation statute, which made it a misdemeanour to operate a school in which both blacks and whites were taught.
He applied and was accepted into the University of Oklahoma in 1948 due to the Supreme Court trial of McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Ruling on the case enabled African-Americans to be admitted to graduate education at the University of Oklahoma on a segregated basis. This meant although McLaurin could not be barred from entering the university as before, he nonetheless wouldn’t use same facilities and sit at the same place as his white mates as he was forced to sit in a corner far from his white classmates.
But his name remains on the honour roll as one of the three best students of the university.
These are his words: “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 afterwards, they began to look for me to give them explanations and to clear their questions.”