ECU mourns death of first black graduate - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

ECU mourns death of first black graduate

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? Photography by Jay Clark ? Photography by Jay Clark

The first black student to earn a degree from East Carolina University died this week.
Laura Marie Leary Elliott graduated in 1966.

She remembered her time at ECU as "lonely" and "scary". But her legacy opened the door for many more students to graduate a pirate.

"She had the courage to step on campus not only as the first African-American, but an African-American," said Melissa Haithcox-Dennis, Dir. Wright Cultural Center. "In that time it was just not heard of."

A wake and funeral services are scheduled for Monday in Maryland, where she lived in retirement.

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