5, 2000 (Lexington, Ky.) On
May 7, Annbruce Hinnant King and her brother Ollen Hinnant will sit in the audience at the
University of Kentucky commencement ceremony and witness something awesome a
second- and third-generation member of their family receiving degrees from UK.
earned her bachelors degree in education from UK in 1961. Hinnant was one of the
first African-American students to enter UK after its 1949 desegregation and the first to
graduate from the College of Law. On Sunday, Kings daughter Karen Napier will
receive her masters degree in early childhood education, and her granddaughter Barri
Benita Crump will receive her masters degree in school psychology.
is a great achievement for an African-American family that couldnt even go to school
here 50 years ago, said Hinnant, who is married to Retia Walker, UKs first
African-American female college dean. It is a milestone for our family and all
research for the recently published 50 Years of the UK African-American Legacy
booklet, Hinnant learned that four generations of his family had actually taken classes
through UK. University records show his mother attended Extension classes in the 1930s but
never completed a degree.
is an amazing thing, said Vice Chancellor of Minority Affairs Lauretta Byars, who
verified the records found by Earl Pfanstiel, director of UK Extension. It shows us
that even with legalized segregation, UK was responding to provide African Americans an
opportunity for higher education in Kentucky.
Day Law in Kentucky prevented African-Americans from attended classes with white students,
sending them instead to Kentucky State University. A 1949 lawsuit by Lyman T. Johnson
overturned the law as an unjust application of the separate but equal rule and
forced UK to admit African-American students. Hinnant, then at Kentucky State, came to UK,
where he graduated in 1952 and 1955 with bachelors and doctoral degrees in law. His
UK education changed his life, he said.
are many things I have been able to do because I got a good education at Kentucky,
he said. I am really proud of being a graduate of UK and its outstanding law
and King said that despite laws that prevented them from attending UK, the thought of not
going to college never crossed their minds. In their parents eyes, Hinnant said, it
was not even an option. Their father had attended North Carolina A&T University on a
football scholarship, and their mother had earned a teaching degree in Ohio.
mother had left home just after graduating from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School with
enough money to get to Xenia, Ohio. At Wilberforce University, she worked her way through
school cooking and cleaning, joined Delta Sigma Theta sorority and still graduated in four
took a lot of guts for her to do that, Hinnant said of his mother leaving home for
an education. My parents assumed their children would go to college. They would
always say, When you graduate from college
who began her degree work in Ohio then returned home, said the opportunity to go to UK
allowed her to complete many important facets of her life.
able to go to UK was convenient, because I was working and raising a family, she
said. It gave me and many other people a good opportunity to attend school and not
go out-of-state as others had to in the past.
said he is happy to see his niece and grandniece graduate, as well as other
African-American members of the class of 2000.
shows that blacks have really taken advantage of their right to attend UK and the
states other universities and colleges, he said.
is all a testament to the commitment of UK to educate minorities and to the students and
families who take advantage of the opportunity, Byars said.