University honors female African-American student barred from walking in 1918 graduation
© University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is honoring its first female African-American graduate a century after she was banned from walking in her graduation ceremony, The Denver Post reported on Thursday. 

Lucile Berkeley Buchanan was not allowed to walk in her 1918 graduation ceremony despite having taken all the required classes and exams.

“[W]hen the moment came to be acknowledged at the graduation ceremony — to walk across the stage, have your hand shaken, to be given a diploma — that didn’t happen,” Ann Carlos, a dean at the school, told the Post. “And so this celebration of this woman’s life was both to help us all remember who she was and to acknowledge and make a small reparation for the fact that she didn’t walk 100 years ago.”


The school is posthumously honoring Buchanan next month after an associate professor researched her story. The professor also corrected the university’s record, which incorrectly claimed the first black woman graduated in 1924, the Post reported.

The moment was “historic but sad,” the school’s women and gender studies program said on its website. 

Buchanan, the daughter of emancipated Virginia slaves, earned a degree in German and went on to teach in Colorado and Illinois. 

She died at the age of 105.