University of Mississippi Law School Looks to Increase Black Enrollments

The University of Mississippi School of Law did not graduate its first black student until 1967. Now, nearly 40 years later, blacks are slightly more than 8 percent of the student body. This progress must be considered in light of the fact that blacks are now more than 36 percent of the population in the state of Mississippi. There are some 500 black lawyers in Mississippi, about 7 percent of all attorneys in the state.

In order to increase racial diversity on campus, the University of Mississippi law school is mounting a new effort. Recruiters are being sent to historically black colleges and universities throughout the South. In addition, scholarship money for low-income students has been increased. Efforts are also under way to bring more black faculty to campus which, it is hoped, will in turn make it easier to attract black students.

The efforts are showing signs of progress. The current first-year class at the law school is 13 percent black, up from 7 percent a year ago.