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 UKs 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.