Wallenstein To Discuss Beginnings Of Black Enrollment At Universities In The South -- Virginia Tech was 'first' to desegregate

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 7, 2003 – Peter Wallenstein, professor of history at Virginia Tech, will present a public lecture on "‘We Have Decided That We Can Accept You at VPI’: Irving Peddrew, Charlie Yates, and the Beginnings of Black Enrollment at 'White' Universities in the South."

The lecture, which is part of the university's golden anniversary celebration of blacks at Virginia Tech, will be held Tuesday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Donaldson Brown Hotel & Conference Center (DBH&CC) auditorium. It will provide the historical context that helps set the stage for the golden anniversary black reunion scheduled March 28-30 and the dedication of Peddrew-Yates Residence Hall, which will be held on March 29.

"Virginia Tech was the first 'white' land-grant university in the states of the former confederacy to enroll black undergraduates," Wallenstein said. "How did that come about, and how is it significant?" His talk will outline events at Virginia Tech in the 1950s, highlighting Irving Peddrew as the first African American to enroll at Tech, in 1953, and Charlie Yates as the school's first black graduate, in 1958. Wallenstein will set those events in the wider contexts of higher education and racial policy in the state, region, and nation.

Sponsors of the talk include the Department of History, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Residential and Dining Programs, and the Office of the Vice President for Multicultural Affairs.

For further information, call (540)231-5331 or (540)231-8376.