UGA residence hall named after first African American trail blazers

The university is honoring its history with a new residence space.

ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia is honoring its history Thursday with a new residence hall.

UGA leaders held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the naming of Black-Diallo-Miller Hall, the university’s newest living quarters.

Tucked away on Athens’ Baxter Street, the residence hall highlights Harold Alonza Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo and Kerry Rushin Miller, the first African American students to enroll as freshmen and complete their undergraduate degrees at UGA.

The hall will house 525 first-year students starting this fall, marking the 60 years since the three icons enrolled as freshmen, and all three were there to see their legacy solidified on campus.

“I would like to thank my family and friends who are here,” said Miller, who was the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UGA in 1966 and shortly thereafter began an extensive professional career in the telecommunications industry. “I am so honored to have this building bear the name of Miller on it.”

Diallo earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in French literature at the university and later earned a doctorate from Emory University. Diallo retired last year after teaching at historically Black colleges and universities Morehouse College and Florida A&M University.

Black took the opportunity to reflect upon his time at UGA and the impact the new residence hall will have on new students. 

“It’s going to be almost 60 years to the day that I walked into Reed Hall as a freshman that freshmen will enter this building. I can guarantee you one thing: the atmosphere will be a lot warmer, a lot more welcoming than it was 60 years ago,” said Black, the University’s first African American male freshman and the first African American graduate of the Terry College of Business. “It was an interesting time, an interesting experience, and I want to thank everyone past and present who helped make that possible.”

Portraits of all three honorees are on display in the building’s lobby.

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