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Vivian Malone Jones, the First Black Graduate of the University of Alabama

Vivian Malone Jones

In 1965, a woman named Vivian Malone Jones became the first African American to ever graduate from the University of Alabama. However, this accomplishment took years of dedication and fighting through trials against both her race and her character.

Despite being an exceptional high school student and member of the National Honor Society, Jones was one of several Black students to have their applications rejected from UA because of “class size” and “enrollment” issues

Jones did not give up, though. She went on to earn a "bachelor’s degree at Alabama A&M, a predominantly black university," which was later deemed unaccredited. Yet, she still fought hard by applying to the University of Alabama’s School of Commerce and Business Administration. It took another black student and a lawsuit to get her accepted but she never lost hope.

After her groundbreaking graduation, Jones went on to work for the United States Justice Department in its civil rights division. Her accomplishments don't stop there, as she later worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the Director of Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Director of Environmental Justice.