Celebrating Black History Month
Left: Models in the African American Textile Society's first Fashion Exposé (Photo Courtesy: The Technician, 1998).
Dear Wilson College Community,
Welcome to Black History Month!
Black History Month has roots that stretch back to 1915, but was not officially recognized by the federal government until President Gerald Ford designated February Black History Month in 1976 (Source). It’s a time to learn about the challenges Black Americans have faced and how they have fought for equity, as well as to celebrate their historical achievements and legacy.
Here at the Wilson College of Textiles, our Black students have made university history with the Fashion Exposé. The event, which is run by the African American Textile Society, is the longest-running fashion show on NC State’s campus.
We invite you to learn about a few of the important moments in the Black History of the Wilson College, as well as ways you can seek community and support on NC State’s campus.
Wilson College Alumnus Builds Community in Tech Industry
Black History “Firsts” at the Wilson College
1971: James “Jim” Rucker becomes the first Black student to graduate from the college.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry, Rucker went on to earn his doctorate in fiber and polymer science from the college in 1986. He later returned as an associate professor for the Wilson College.
1982: Pamela Banks-Lee becomes the college’s first Black female faculty member.
Banks-Lee retired in 2022, after mentoring countless graduate students and conducting research to advance the field of textiles for audiology.
1990: Harold Freeman becomes the first Black professor to earn a named professorship at the Wilson College of Textiles.
Harold S. Freeman became the Ciba Professor of Dye Chemistry at the age of 39. An internationally recognized dye chemist, he received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest faculty honor bestowed by the trustees and NC State University in 2017.
How Black Culture and Black History Informs Sneakerhead Culture
History in the making
African American Textile Society Builds Lasting Community for Students of Color
Devon Person ’10 Named a Distinguished Young Alumni Award Recipient
Wilson College of Textiles Faculty and Lenovo Partner for Data Trade Gateway Program
Joelle Bond ’13: Inspired to Design Pieces That Will Always Stand Out in Your Wardrobe
Deja Herelle ’22 Launches Apparel Career at Under Armour
Jessica Singleton ’09 Wins Inaugural Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Diversity Propels the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation
Diversity and inclusivity are interwoven into the core values that inform the work of the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF), which serves as the college’s philanthropic arm.
The NCTF makes the college’s groundbreaking, industry-leading work possible. That exceptional work includes supporting change agents, glass ceiling breakers and equity seekers in a variety of ways. With the foundation’s financial backing and extensive network of connections, our college’s students, staff and alumni, including members of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council, can continue to further their understanding and celebration of diversity and inclusion.
Donate to the Textiles Diversity and Inclusion Fund
Jasmine Cox ’13, ’20
Current Ph.D. student Jasmine Cox ’13, ’20, who is co-president of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council, helps alumni connect with their alma mater while also giving students from rural North Carolina access to a world-class textile technology education.
Remington Scott ’16, ’19
As a two-time graduate, Remington Scott ’16, ’19 credits the Wilson College of Textiles for giving him the fundamentals he needed to be successful throughout his career, including his current role as a R&D engineer at Honeywell.
Black History Month is the perfect chance to learn and connect. Here are just a few of the opportunities offered through NC State:
- African American Textile Society
- NC State Black Alumni Society
- NC State African American Cultural Center
- DEI Courses at NC State
- The Origins of Black History Month