First Black Woman Enrolled at Pitt in 1906
Dr. Jean Hamilton Walls, the first black woman to receive a bachelor's degree (1910) was also the first to receive a Ph.D. (1938). Her dissertation was A Study of Seventy-Eight Negro Graduates of the University of Pittsburgh from 1920-1936.
Dr. Walls graduated from Allegheny High School in 1904 and majored in mathematics and physics at Pitt. She received a master's degree at Howard University in 1912 and taught at the Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore; the Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina; and the Fort Valley School in Georgia.
She returned to Pittsburgh to be executive director of the Centre Avenue branch of the Y.W.C.A. and then started work on her doctorate.
Excluded from campus organizations, with the exception of the Y.W.C.A.,black women formed their own clubs. In 1922, the women formed the Council of Negro College Women (C.N.C.W) to foster intellectual growth, leadership, and friendship among black women at the University of Pittsburgh. The C.N.C.W. also worked to broaden the vocational options of college educated black women. Their first event was The Vocational Conference for Colored Students.
Jean Hamilton Walls
Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1946
Delta Sigma Theta, 1946
Women in the College, Owl 1911. The first black woman to graduate from Pitt, Jean Hamilton Walls (B.A. '10)(left front), also became the first to receive a Ph.D. at Pitt in 1938.