LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2019) — This year marks the 70th year of integration at the University of Kentucky, due to the efforts of Lyman T. Johnson, who broke the color barrier with his successful legal challenge in 1949.
As progress has been made since that time, more can be and will be done.
On this edition of the "Behind the Blue" podcast, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sat down with UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications intern Aaron Porter Jr. and discussed the importance of Lyman T. Johnson's historic action, the progress the school has made, and more room for improvement in the areas of belonging and diversity on UK's campus.
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Seventy years ago, Lyman T. Johnson forced open the doors of the University of Kentucky by becoming the first African-American student. He, along with countless others, opened a door and created a path for us to follow. It’s the idea that anyone -- regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, what they believe, how they identify themselves, or where they are from – can find a place at the University of Kentucky. Yet, our story demands that we acknowledge that progress on this path has not been a straight line. There have been moments where we have, as an institution, not honored our aspirations. Those moments provide a compelling reminder that building a community of belonging is a journey, not a project. This month, as part of Black History Month, we are chronicling the stories of the trailblazers, innovators and champions, who bravely stepped forward or are prodding us ahead today. Their stories speak to us and guide us still.