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

Barbara Guillory Thompson Dr. Barbara Guillory Thompson ’57: Trailblazer

Pearlie Hardin Elloie
Dr. Pearlie Hardin Elloie ’60: Trailblazer

Dr. Barbara Guillory Thompson ’57 and Pearlie Hardin 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.  She continued her education at Louisiana State University, where she was the first African-American female to live in a dormitory before graduating with an MA in Sociology in 1960. Dr. Thompson then sought to attain her Ph.D. from Tulane University. However, at the time, Tulane was a segregated institution. Nevertheless, she persisted and teamed up with Pearlie Elloie, a fellow Dillard graduate to integrate Tulane. 

Pearlie Hardin Elloie was a 1960 magna cum laude Dillard graduate. 

The two Dillard alumnae were hand-picked to be involved in a 1961 lawsuit that led to the integration of Tulane. Once the lawsuit was won, the trailblazers enrolled. Thompson earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and Elloie, a Master’s in Social Work.

Barbara Guillory Thompson dedicated 42 years of service to Dillard University, holding various roles such as Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, Chair of the Sociology Department, University Marshal, and Chair of the Tenure and Promotions Committee, before retiring from the institution.

Elloie served as the director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families at Total Community Action before directing her own HeadStart Center, providing quality early childhood development care.