African Americans

Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance is an annual celebration at Old Dominion University (ODU) to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during Black History Month in February. History In 1985, Old Dominion celebrated its first Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance by holding a march on Kaufman Mall, music by… read more »

Ulysses V. Spiva

Ulysses V. Spiva served as the first African American dean at Old Dominion University (ODU) from 1979 to 1984. He received his degrees from Tennessee State University, Case Western Reserve University and Stanford University. Before ODU, Spiva served as a principal in Cleveland and held positions at Florida International University and Nova University. Old Dominion… read more »

Old Dominion-Norfolk State Merger

To help with eliminating duplication of programs between Old Dominion University (ODU) and Norfolk State College, the federal government suggested the merger of the two institutions in 1978. History During segregation in Norfolk, African American students were sent to Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, now Norfolk State University, to complete their undergraduate education. After… read more »

Kappa Alpha Psi, Eta Omega Chapter

The Eta Omega Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was chartered in 1975 at Old Dominion University (ODU), making it the first African American fraternity on campus. Resources Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at ODU Timeline, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2016-present. Fraternities and Sororities at ODU. References Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University:… read more »

Delta Sigma Theta, Lambda Eta Chapter

The Lambda Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta was established in 1974 as the first African American sorority at Old Dominion University (ODU). The chapter was suspended in 2012 and returned to good standing in January 2020. Resources Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at ODU Timeline, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2016-present. References Bookman, Steven… read more »

Dr. Milton Reid

Dr. Milton Reid, a Norfolk preacher, served as the first African American member of the Board of Visitors at Old Dominion University (ODU). ODU and Personal Accomplishments Dr. Milton Reid, a Norfolk preacher, civil rights activist, and newspaper publisher, served as the first African American member of the ODU Board of Visitors from 1970 to… read more »

Ronald Horne

Ronald Horne was the first African American to receive a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University (ODU). Old Dominion Accomplishments Ronald Horne came to Old Dominion College in 1965, making him one of the first African Americans to enroll at the college after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened the doors for more African… read more »

Alexander Brooks “A.B.” Jackson

Alexander Brooks “A.B.” Jackson was the first African American professor at Old Dominion University (ODU). ODU and Personal Accomplishments Jackson taught art at Old Dominion College from 1967 until his death in 1981. Previously the chair of the Art Department at the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, now Norfolk State University, Jackson specialized in… read more »

Arthur “Buttons” Speakes

Arthur “Buttons” Speakes was the first African American athlete to be recruited by and receive a scholarship from a predominately white college in Virginia. Old Dominion Accomplishments Speakes was one of the best all-around athletes who ever came to Old Dominion University (ODU). Speakes excelled at both baseball and basketball from 1965 to 1969. An… read more »

Norfolk Division and Segregation

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary denied admission to African American undergraduate students to comply with the Virginia laws of segregation. History During World War II, there were several instances of African American Naval officers taking classes offered by the Norfolk Division at Naval Station Norfolk…. read more »

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