The new Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington is undertaking an oral history of the university’s early Black alumni. The first Black students arrived on campus in September 1962.
One of the subjects of the oral history project will be Maxwell C. Scarlett. In 1966, Scarlett was the first African American to graduate from the university. He went on to be the first African American faculty member in the biology department at the University of North Texas and now is a practicing physician. Another subject will be Royce West, who in 1972 was the first Black student government president. He is now a state senator.
The center, which will officially be launched this summer, is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Social Work. The search for the center’s first director is ongoing. Initially, the center will offer a minor degree program in African American studies.
There are about 5,000 Black students at the university. They make up about 15 percent of the student body.