In Memoriam

Dolly A. McPherson (1928-2011)

Dolly McPherson, the first African-American woman to hold a full-time faculty position at Wake Forest University, died recently at the age of 82.

In 1974 she was hired by the English department to teach literature. She remained on the Wake Forest faculty until her retirement in 2001. She was instrumental in recruiting her friend Maya Angelou to the Wake Forest faculty.

A native of New Orleans, McPherson was a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge. She held a master’s degree in English from Boston University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Sammie Burnett Johnson (1939-2011)

Sammie Burnett Johnson, one of eight black students who in 1959 racially integrated what is now the University of Memphis, has died after a long battle with bone cancer. She was 71 years old.

Johnson spent her first semester in higher education at historically black LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis and then transferred to what was then Memphis State University. The eight black students were not permitted to take physical education classes, attend sporting events, or join Greek organizations. They were required to leave campus each day by noon after attending morning classes.

Johnson spent one year at the university. She got married and moved to New Mexico where she earned a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico State University. She later earned an MBA at the University of Kansas.

Johnson taught for 19 years at Kansas City Kansas Community College.