Converse College honors its African-American trailblazers – News – GoUpstate

Five decades ago, seeds planted during the Civil Rights movement began to bloom at Converse College.

In the fall of 1968, Freida Rogers Byrd and Margaret Jones Swindler became the first black students to enroll at the women’s college. According to Converse, the women had dreamed of leaving South Carolina, but both went on to distinguish themselves and graduate in 1972.

They broke ground for future African-American students, like the school’s current student body president, Jayda Means, and earlier, Phyllis Perrin Harris, a 1982 Converse graduate who recently became the first black woman to lead the college’s board of trustees.

Byrd and Swindler and all the women who followed them were recognized Friday as part of a year-long celebration of the African-American experience at Converse.


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