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By Selena Stevens


Lyman T. Johnson Jr. will attend the ceremony, which unveils a historical marker offering the history of his father's lawsuit which led to desegregating the university.


April 21, 1999 -- (Lexington, Ky.) – The University of Kentucky will honor its desegregation and the student who led the effort by unveiling an historical marker at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 22. The event is part of UK’s 50-year commemoration of African Americans on campus.

The two-sided marker gives history of the desegregation and 50 years celebration on one side and honors Lyman T. Johnson on the other. In 1949, Johnson won a lawsuit against the university and became the first African-American student at UK. He entered the university as a graduate student in the history department, then housed in Frazee Hall. The historical marker is located by Frazee Hall, near the UK Student Center.

The marker joins several others on the UK campus noting historically significant locations. The UK Student Development Council supports the marker program as a way for graduating classes to give back to their campus. Through a fund-raising program called Senior Challenge, the council funds the marker program and an annual undergraduate scholarship as a way to build pride in UK and maintain connections for graduating seniors.

The marker dedication program will begin at Frazee Hall with drummers leading the speakers and guests to the dedication area. Gerald Smith, UK associate professor of history and director of the African-American Studies and Research Program, will outline the importance of the occasion and its historical context. Leah Wood, president of the UK Student Development Committee, will speak on the marker program. UK President Charles T. Wethington Jr. will give remarks and thanks on behalf of the university, and Lyman T. Johnson Jr., son of the late honoree, will speak for the Johnson family. The UK Black Voices will sing and lead musical selections before and after the dedication.

A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. following the dedication ceremony in the Student Center Small Ballroom. UK Alumni Relations Director Stan Key will give greetings and introduce gathered alumni. Student Government Association President Nate Brown and Black Student Union President Clyde Pickett will speak of their experiences at UK. Alumni of the 1950s era also are invited to offer remarks.

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