Miriam Johnson Carter Application Materials

Dublin Core


Miriam Johnson Carter Application Materials


These letters highlight the correspondence between Miriam J. Carter, a female African-American teacher, and faculty at William and Mary regarding her admission for graduate study. The entire exchange includes over 12 letters sent between June and August 1955, about one year after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling.
Mrs. Carter writes to George J. Oliver, the Head of the Department of Education, in response to her initial application submission and subsequent rejection. In this letter, Mrs. Carter writes to explain the circumstances motivating her to apply, including location of her home in Gloucester and desire to spend time with her children. Because her proposed graduate program of study was offered at Virginia State College, W&M administrators had encouraged her to study there instead. The second letter is written by W&M Dean of Faculty Charles F. Marsh to J.L. McHugh, the Director of the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory (now the Virginia Institute of Marine Science). After being rejected from the W&M School of Education, Mrs. Carter applied to study aquatic biology at the Virginia Fisheries Laboratory. Dean Marsh acknowledges that she is “well qualified as regards her grades” but remarks that her undergraduate courses lack the necessary science prerequisites for admission.
Eventually, Mrs. Carter was admitted to the W&M Law School for the 1955-1956 school year, making her the first African-American female student at W&M. Although Mrs. Carter knew that current Virginia policy and practice were against her, she advocated for her right to education.


Office of the President, College of William and Mary


Swem Special Collections




Anonymous William and Mary students, description
Ari Weinberg, metadata




Office of the President, College of William and Mary, “Miriam Johnson Carter Application Materials ,” The Lemon Project, accessed August 15, 2022, https://lemonlab.wm.edu/items/show/39.

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