Frances Marshall Eagleson

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Frances Marshall Eagleson (1898—1987) was born in Elizabeth, Kentucky, United States, on July 17, 1898 and raised in Rushville, Indiana. The first black woman to graduate from Indiana University, she graduated in 1919 with an associate degree in English and a teaching certificate. After a year of teaching in Florida she began teaching English at North Carolina Central College at Durham in 1921, but went on to earn a graduate degree in educational administration from the University of Chicago and Columbia. Eventually working as a registrar and admissions officer for North Carolina Central University from 1928 to retirement in 1964 (Currently has co-ed dormitory named in her honor - Eagleson Hall). After retirement, Marshall worked as the registrar for two other colleges: Florida Memorial College in St. Augustine, Florida, and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

She was married to Wilson Vashon Eagleson (?-1933), another Indiana University graduate who taught chemistry and coached football at North Carolina Central University. They were the parents of 2nd Lt. Wilson Vashon Eagleson, a fighter pilot who flew with the 99th and 32nd Pursuit Squadron during the Second World War, and Rosaline M. Exum, who became an associate professor of mathematics at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. After retiring from her post at Spelman, Eagleson lived with her daughter in Hampton until her death on May 18, 1987.[1]

Eagleson remained active in the Indiana University alumni category, mentoring and housing students, and she has been honored by Indiana University beside Marcellus Neal for their scholastic and social achievements. The Neal-Marshall Alumni Club was founded in 1981 as a means of meeting the needs of black students, faculty, and staff, while also promoting African-American history at Indiana University. The organization was actually founded in Jackson, Mississippi, but Indiana chapters soon followed in Gary and Indianapolis.[2] The Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center opened on the Indiana University campus in 1969. The center was originally called the "Black House," but renamed the Black Culture Center in 1972. The center was located in various buildings on campus, but moved into its new home at 109 North Jordan Avenue in 2001 after years of effort by students, alumni, and administration.[3]

"When I said I was going to college, people thought I was crazy," she said. "It was unusual for a woman to go to college, especially a black woman."[2]


  1. ^ "IU Archives Marshall, Frances Clipping File". 
  2. ^ a b "Marshall, Neal were IU Pioneers". Indiana Daily Student. October 18, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center History". 

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