Lucile Buchanan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lucile Buchanan
Lucile berkeley buchanan.jpg
Born(1884-06-13)June 13, 1884
Denver, Colorado
Died(1989-11-13)November 13, 1989
Denver, Colorado
Known forFirst black woman to graduate from CU Boulder
Parent(s)James Buchanan and Sarah Berkeley
Academic background
EducationB.A., University of Colorado Boulder

Lucile Buchanan was the first black woman to graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder[1][2][3]. She graduated with a degree in German in 1918 and the Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Scholarship was created in her honor in April, 2010.[4] Buchanan is remembered for her "fierce independence, tenacity, and resolve"[5].

Early life[edit]

Lucy Berkeley Buchanan[5] was born in Denver, Colorado, on June 13, 1884, to Sarah Lavinia and James Fenton Buchanan[2]. Her parents were freed slaves from adjacent plantations in northern Virginia[2]. Buchanan later, unofficially, changed her name to Lucile[5].

Education and career[edit]

Buchanan enrolled in a two-year teacher certification program at the now University of Northern Colorado in 1903 (then the Colorado State College for Education at Greeley)[2]. She took a teaching job at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock[2]. The following year, Buchanan enrolled at the University of Chicago to study Greek, German, and English, where she studied for a year before pursuing a degree in German at the University of Colorado Boulder[2][1]. Buchanan was fluent in German and read Latin[5].

Buchanan was the University of Colorado Boulder's first black female graduate in 1918, but she was not allowed to walk at graduation to publicly accept her diploma[6]. She was not pictured in the university's yearbook in 1918, however she was pictured in a 1918 edition of "The Crisis," an official magazine of the NAACP[2]. The university posthumously honored her on May 10, 2018, when Polly E. Bugros McLean accepted a diploma on Buchanan's behalf[7][6]. McLean, an associate professor of media studies at the university, wrote a book about Buchanan titled Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family's Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High, published in May 2018[8][5].

In the 1920s, Buchanan worked at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri, and all-Black school, where she created the school's newspaper the Observer as well as founded the World Affairs Club[5].


  1. ^ a b "In search of Lucile". The Denver Post. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Jones, Lucy (Lucile) Berkeley Buchanan (1884-1989) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  3. ^ "Mystery behind CU's first black woman graduate is unraveling". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  4. ^ "The Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Scholarship". Women & Gender Studies. 2015-11-11. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  5. ^ a b c d e f McLean, Polly E. Burgros (2018). Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family's Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 978-1-60732-824-7.
  6. ^ a b "A century later, CU officially remembers Lucile". Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine. 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  7. ^ "A century later, CU Boulder honors first black woman to graduate". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  8. ^ "University Press of Colorado - Remembering Lucile". Retrieved 2018-03-19.