Celebrating Black History at Dillard University

Dillard University Trailblazers

As we celebrate Black History Month, Dillard University proudly recognizes and honors the inspirational icons within our community who have made significant contributions through their activism. From groundbreaking leaders to visionary advocates, these individuals embody the spirit of empowerment and social justice. Let us take this opportunity to reflect on their remarkable achievements and to continue embracing the legacy of strength, resilience, and excellence that defines the Dillard family.

Fannie C. Williams: Renowned Educator

Fannie C. Williams was born March 23, 1882, in Biloxi, Mississippi. As a teenager, she moved to New Orleans to attend high school. Once she graduated, Williams enrolled at Straight University (now Dillard University). After completing her degree at Straight, Williams received two more degrees from Michigan State Normal College at Ypsilanti (now Eastern Michigan University) in Pedagogy and a Master of Arts degree from Michigan University at Ann Arbor in 1938. 

Dr. Barbara Guillory Thompson ’57 and Pearlie Elloie ’60: Trailblazers

Dr. Barbara Guillory Thompson ’57 and Pearlie Elloie ’60, MSW were the first Black students to integrate Tulane University in 1963. Born in 1936, New Orleans native Dr.Thompson graduated cum laude from Dillard University in 1957.  Pearlie Hardin Elloie was a 1960 magna cum laude Dillard graduate.

Dr. Barbara Guillory Thompson ’57 and Pearlie Elloie ’60: Trailblazers

Cecil Carter ’62 and the CORE Four

Cecil W. Carter was a 1962 graduate of Dillard University. Carter was instrumental in several protests against segregation.

Inspired by the trailblazing actions of four students from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro on February 1, 1960, the CORE members implemented a simple yet powerful tactic. They strategically seated Black and White members at “whites-only” lunch counters during the sit-ins.

Dave Dennis ’68: Activist

Dave Dennis ’68, a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, embodied the spirit of activism and social change. As a student at Dillard University,

Dennis embarked on a journey to contribute to the advancement of civil rights in America. Departing from Dillard University, he immersed himself in the Civil Rights Movement, working alongside esteemed icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis.