Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College History

Academics

1919

The first African-American student is admitted

According to Paul Helmreich, in Wheation College, 1834-1957: A Massachusetts Family Affair, in 1919 an African-American student named Elizabeth Baker Lewis attended Wheaton, and had little or no trouble gaining admission to the college. The circumstances of her admittance are unclear, but it was common for African-American applicants to withold information about their race during the admissions process in order to gain admission to institutions where they would otherwise have been rejected. The enrollment of Lewis may have also been an experiment on the part of the adminstration to test the readiness of the college to enroll other African-American students in the future. Whatever the reason for her presence at Wheaton, she only attended the college for one year, and transferred to Radcliffe in 1920.

Helmreich, Paul. Wheation College, 1834-1957: A Massachusetts Family Affair. New York : Cornwall Books, 2002. pp. 153, n. 12.

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