First Black Graduate Students
UT’s first Black graduate student, Gene Mitchell Gray, was admitted to study chemistry in the winter quarter of 1952. His admittance followed a lawsuit in fall 1950 when he and three other students sought admission to UT’s law and graduate programs. Lincoln A. Blakeney and Joseph H. Patterson applied to the Law School. Gene Mitchell Gray and Jack Alexander applied to the Graduate School. After a judge in federal district court upheld their right to admission but did not issue an order, the students took their case to the US Supreme Court. However since UT had already changed its admission policy and admitted Gray, the Supreme Court declined to take action. Gray took undergraduate courses in the sciences for a year before withdrawing and transferring to Lehigh University. Alexander did not enroll in UT. Blakeney spent one quarter in law school and then withdrew. Patterson announced that he would enter law school in September 1952, but never did.