Professor Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, an emerita member of Duke University's Board of Trustees and former provost at the University of the District of Columbia, is featured in The Herald Sun for being one of the first five African-American students to take classes at Duke University.
Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke spent four years at Duke University and graduated in 1967. She was never in a class in which there was another black student. There were no black professors.
"There is a discomfort in being the only person and that became the norm,” Reuben-Cooke said. "If you haven’t experienced that, it’s hard to imagine. But then it becomes the norm.”
She did have the four other African American students who enrolled with her — "we immediately bonded, the five of us. Whoever did admissions, from my perspective, they chose four other wonderful people, people with whom you wanted to associate. We knew we were there for each other.”