BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

First Black student at BYU walked the halls over eight decades ago

Jan 16, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 9:26 am
The Brigham Young University campus in Provo is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Deseret News)...
The Brigham Young University campus in Provo is pictured on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Deseret News)
(Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah — It is historically believed BYU had its’ first African American student attendee in the 1960s. But new research finds it was much earlier. 

The first black student at Brigham Young was actually a master’s student named Norman Wilson studying agricultural economics from 1937 to 1939. Thirty years earlier than previously believed. 

The discovery was made by BYU graduate, Grace Soelberg, who began researching the university’s relationship to people of color in a funded initiative called the Slavery Project.

The project not only found when the first black person attended the University but also discovered many of its founders had ties to both African American and Native American slavery.

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First Black student at BYU walked the halls over eight decades ago