Rearview Mirror

From the desk of Felicity Knox ’94, library associate to Special Collections and University Archives 

Marvis Evon Barnes and Myra Harris student photos

Ask an Archivist

Q: When was TU integrated? 

A: On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, ruling that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. For the State Teachers College at Towson (STC), this meant that almost 100 years of whites-only education had come to an end.  

Jeanette Cornilia Smith, Vivian Kernes, Delores Elaine Snipes and Cornelia Juanita Martin were the first Black students to enroll, in fall 1955. They already held bachelor’s degrees from liberal arts schools and took one year of post-baccalaureate work at STC to qualify as teachers. The same year those students began their post-baccalaureate work, Marvis Evon Barnes and Myra Ann Harris enrolled as freshmen. They graduated in 1959. 
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The Shodekeh Collection

Shodekeh is a beatboxer, with a deep interest in vocal arts and expression. In 2006, he began accompanying TU dance classes taught by Vincent Thomas. He has performed across the globe, creating events to highlight the range and impact such music can make. In 2010, he began the EMBODY vocal arts series. The next year, he met the Tuvan throat-singing band, Alash, and has since visited, performed and toured with them numerous times. In 2014, to mark the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he helped the Reginald F. Lewis Museum reimagine the song. He also has collaborated with Johns Hopkins University to create a math and music course called Beatbox Algebra. 

In 2020, he was named the College of Fine Arts & Communication’s innovator-in-residence. Special Collections and University Archives has begun working with Shodekeh to not just house the material he’s collected in his work but also collaborate with him as his craft continues to evolve.  

The history of the new Science Complex ​

1915 map of campus


When the school moved to the campus at Towson, all classes were held in the Administration Building, which we now know as Stephens Hall. When plans were drawn up for the new campus construction, a separate science building was supposed to sit just behind the Administration Building. But a lack of funding meant that did not come to fruition. 

black and white photo of Smith Hall


Fifty years later, the first science building on campus was completed and dedicated the following year to George L. Smith. The enrollment boom in the 1960s and 1970s meant that the science building needed an expansion almost immediately. By 1973, crews were back on campus, constructing more classroom and lab space and installing air conditioning throughout the building. 

Groundbreaking of new Science Complex


TU broke ground for the construction of a new Science Complex. Three years later, that building is complete, ready to meet the needs of 21st-century science students.