DeCosta-Willis honored as first Black faculty member at then-Memphis State

By , Daily Memphian Published: December 14, 2020 3:47 PM CT
<strong>City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon attends a ceremony on the University of Memphis campus, for his mother Miriam DeCosta-Willis, on Monday, Dec. 14. DeCosta-Willis was denied entrance to then-Memphis State University in 1957. In 1966, she became the school&rsquo;s first Black professor. The recognition &ldquo;speaks to the strength of the person we recognize and the evolution of diversity in this institution,&rdquo; Sugarmon said.</strong> (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)

City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon attends a ceremony on the University of Memphis campus, for his mother Miriam DeCosta-Willis, on Monday, Dec. 14. DeCosta-Willis was denied entrance to then-Memphis State University in 1957. In 1966, she became the school’s first Black professor. The recognition “speaks to the strength of the person we recognize and the evolution of diversity in this institution,” Sugarmon said. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)

The University of Memphis unveiled plans Monday, Dec. 14, for a plaque honoring Miriam DeCosta Sugarmon Willis, the school’s first African American faculty member. 

Topics

University of Memphis Miriam DeCosta-Willis David Rudd Tarik Sugarmon

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Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


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