WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Midwestern State University has been a staple in the Wichita Falls community for a century, but there is one moment in its 100-year history that cannot be overlooked.
“For the first half of MSU’s one hundred years of existence, it was a segregated institution. Which of course meant that local African Americans couldn’t attend this university, which was admittedly heartbreaking and challenging, and required them to pursue their education elsewhere. People had to go a long way,” said Cammie Dean, assistant vice president of student affairs.
In 1950 a black woman Willie Faye Battle applied for admission to the school and was denied. She applied the following year, and again: refusal.
“So I can imagine being frustrated, angry but most of all hurt and belittled to be denied the opportunity to pursue education right here at a great institution in their hometown,” Dean said.
Thanks to the historic Supreme Court case, Brown V. Board of Education, in 1954, black students were able to come to campus, a feat Dean said was overdue. Now, nearly 70 years later, Dean said students around the world call MSU home.
“When you include our 10% international population along with our Black population, our Hispanic population only about half of our students are students of color,” Dean said.
These days, Dean and the rest of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center team are busy fostering a community on campus that is welcoming to all. There are events like Caribfest throughout the year.
“For MOSAIC, celebrating who we are and also learning how to share that with the people we work with is really key.”
Using Black History Month to reflect on where MSU once was, what an amazing place it is today, and how much better the future can be.
“It builds people up and gives them the opportunity to be inspired to do even more, and that’s why we celebrate Black History,” said Dean.
You can click here to find out how to participate in MOSAIC.
Mark your calendars for Sunday, February 26, a Black History Month special honoring the East Side community airs on KFDX 3 News at 10am.