[PAST EVENT] Brave Enough to be First: Exploring 50 Years of African Americans in Residence at William & Mary

September 15, 2017 - May 13, 2018
Swem Library, Marshall Gallery, First Floor Rotunda
400 Landrum Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
A symbol representing the 50th Anniversary's theme of Sankofa
A symbol representing the 50th Anniversary's theme of Sankofa

When Janet Brown, Lynn Briley, and Karen Ely first moved into their freshmen dorms in Jefferson Hall at William & Mary, they were unaware of the significance of their presence. The three women were the first African Americans in residence at William & Mary, a fact unbeknownst to them until they were interviewed for the Flat Hat newspaper in October of their freshman year. Prior to their arrival, African American students were rare and the few that were accepted were not allowed to live among their peers on campus. Fifty years have passed since these scholars began their studies in 1967. Since then, black students and faculty have built upon the legacy of these three women and those who came before them, creating spaces where members of the black community at William & Mary are able to thrive, succeed and support one another. William & Mary?s relationship with black students, faculty and staff has been anything but smooth. Brave Enough to be First serves to honor this legacy, to shed light on just how far we have come, and to inspire continued diversity and inclusion.

Admission is free, and the exhibit may be viewed during Swem Library's operating hours.


Jennie Davy, W&M Libraries Exhibits Manager | Phone: 757.221.3062 | [[w|jadavy]]