Student Stories

Cornelius Golightly
After graduating from Talladega College, Cornelius Lacy Golightly completed both his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Michigan.  In 1939, his essay on the topic “What Influence Would a Bible of Mankind Exert on the World of Tomorrow” was first-prize winner in a competition held by the New History Society.  He taught Philosophy and served as associate dean at Wayne

Cornelius Golightly

Cornelius Golightly

Clarence Norris
Clarence Norris entered U-M in 1923.  He found housing with a local African American minister's family and later earned food and lodging working as a janitor in a fraternity house.  He became active in local churches and joined the campus Negro Caucasian Club.  Norris encountered discrimination in campus restaurants as well as in the classroom, but he also had a number of positive experiences with white faculty members and community members. He taught at Bishop College in 1928-29 and returned to Ann Arbor to complete his Master's degree in Sociology in 1929.

Clarence Norris

Clarence Norris

Eugene Marshall
Detroiter Eugene Marshall attended Detroit Central High School and the University of Michigan; in 1906 he earned debating honors at the University of Wisconsin.  As a senior in the Law Department in 1902, he was one of only 28 African American students at the University.

From the Michigan Daily:  "Eugene Marshall, the colored orator, who graduates from the law department in June, has already several openings for his life work. He has an offer from the Collegiate Prohibition Association to travel through the south delivering lectures. He has also offers of positions as a teacher in two Baptist colored colleges.”

"Marshall has been working his own way through college. While doing it, his life has not been a bed of roses. He came here with $50. After paying $45 tuition fees in the University he was left with $5. With this small start he has made his way. He is employed at the Sigma Phi house. He is a hard student and to find time to study in addition to his work he sleeps few hours."

Eugene Marshall

Eugene Marshall

Elsie Roxborough
Roxborough came from a prominent African American Detroit family.  While on campus in the thirties she was acquainted with Arthur Miller, who spoke quite favorably of her.  Elsie and her family were often cited in the society columns of African American periodicals such as The Chicago Defender and The Michigan Chronicle. She was said to be romantically linked to Joe Louis and to Langston Hughes.  By the time of her graduation in 1937 she was already an accomplished playwright.  Roxborough settled in New York City where she continued to write regularly for various major periodicals.  At some point she began to pass as white.  In 1949 she was found dead in her apartment of a possible suicide.

Elsie Roxborough

Elsie Roxborough

First Asian Students

Student Advocates