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Who We Are

Traditions, Celebrations and Accomplishments

The African-American Experience at Southeast Missouri State University

The African American experience at Southeast Missouri State University began over 40 years ago with the enrollment of Roberta Slayton and Helen Carter. Both women were admitted after the Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court Decision in 1954. From that to the present, African-American students have continued to excel, through times of challenge and adversity. Their experience is a significant part of the Southeast culture that has enriched the campus and Cape Girardeau communities.

This exhibit attempts to display the history of African-American students at Southeast. The traditions, celebrations and accomplishments that were achieved through the efforts of many committed individuals. African American students created a community amongst themselves and developed rituals embraced by the entire campus community. Our students and graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in all fields; education, entertainment, business, sports, the media to name a few. Their beginnings were here and their efforts paved the way for future generations of Southeast graduates.

We were unable to include all of the participants of this rich history and in no way wish to diminish the contributions of others. All have had an important role in forming the history of Southeast. We hope, after viewing this exhibit, that you will appreciate the value of this diversity and the traditions, celebrations and accomplishments of Southeast Missouri State University’s African-American students.


(573) 651-2524
Academic Hall 010-011

Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity
One University Plaza, MS3375
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701