1907 : Myrtle Craig, First African American Graduate at MAC

May 31, 2018 all-day

Photo of Myrtle Craig courtesy of MSU Archives

Myrtle Craig arrived at MAC after graduating from a small school in Missouri. Craig was not only a woman enrolling at MAC, but was the first African American student to attend the university. She faced many obstacles during her time here. Not only was the Women’s Building too expensive for her, but she was not allowed to live there because of her race. When she first began at MAC, she lived with Addison Brown, the secretary to the State Board of Agriculture and cooked as a way to pay off her rent. She then moved in with Chance Newman, an Assistant Professor of Drawing and worked as a sales clerk, in a clothing store, and as a waitress to make ends meet. On May 31, 1907 she graduated and received her diploma from United States President Theodore Roosevelt. For the next forty years she devoted her life to teaching African American students at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

William O. Thomson, perhaps the first African American male, enrolled at M.A.C. in 1900; he graduated four years later in 1904.

Breaking Barriers: First African American Students at Michigan State

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