First African-American couple married at Duke Chapel celebrates 50 years of marriage


When Fred and Sylvia Black got married at Duke University Chapel 50 years ago, they didn’t realize how monumental it would be.

On June 10 1968, they became the first African-American couple married there. They’re now living in Chapel Hill.

Fred and Sylvia were students at Howard University at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

That school closed temporarily after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the unrest that followed.

“The first thing on our mind was Washington was burning,” Fred Black said. “We were at Howard University in Washington and they weren’t going to assume responsibility for you. So you had to go home and my gosh, we’re thinking wait a minute we’ve got a wedding scheduled on the tenth of June.”

The Blacks had to figure out where to…

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