University of Arkansas Reports Gain in Black Enrollments, But It Still Has a Long Way to Go to Reach Racial Parity

The flagship campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville reports that there are 1,023 black undergraduate and graduate students on campus this fall. This is an increase of 8 percent from a year ago and is the largest number of black students in a decade. There are 140 black students in the freshman class, up 29 percent from a year ago, and it is the highest number since 2002.

But blacks are still only 5.5 percent of all students on the University of Arkansas campus. African Americans make up 16 percent of the population of the state.

Recently the University of Arkansas held ceremonies commemorating the 1948 racial integration of the law school and the medical school. In a panel discussion, George W.B. Haley, the brother of Roots author Alex Haley, recalled what it was like for the first black students at the law school: “We had a separate study room. We could not sit down in the library. White students complained about us using the student restrooms. We used the dean’s private restroom but that resulted in some of us getting detention. All of us lived in the city at that time. And we decided we would not go to the restroom during the day. Each afternoon you could see us running to get home.”