Duke College names constructing after a Black girl for the primary time in campus historical past


She was one of many “First 5” undergraduate Black college students to enroll on the college in 1963. As of Saturday, her identify will likely be on an educational constructing, making her the primary Black girl to have a campus constructing named for her, in accordance with the college.
The constructing that may bear her identify — the sociology-psychology constructing — is on Duke’s West Campus and can now be referred to as the Reuben-Cooke Constructing. The constructing really predates campus integration by about 30 years, in accordance with Duke President Vincent E. Worth.

“When the constructing that now bears Professor Reuben-Cooke’s identify first opened, she wouldn’t have been allowed to enter it as a scholar,” Worth stated in an e-mail. “From at the present time ahead, anybody who passes by its doorways will keep it up her legacy of accomplishment, engagement and lasting affect.”

The renaming comes at a time when the US is reckoning with present and historic racial pressure. The repeated deaths of Black folks by the hands of police have led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter motion and requires police reform. It has additionally led many corporations, manufacturers and faculties to rethink the pictures and that means behind their names or the names of their merchandise.

In a press release, the college stated the renaming of the sociology-psychology constructing “is an element of a bigger effort launched by Worth to have the college have interaction with its historical past and determine alternatives to honor key contributors to the college who’ve been ignored.”

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A local of South Carolina, Reuben-Cooke — who was energetic within the civil rights motion as a scholar — graduated from Duke in 1967 with a bachelor of arts diploma, in accordance with the college.

After Duke, she earned a legislation diploma from the College of Michigan in 1973 and have become an legal professional on the legislation agency of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC. She later transitioned to academia the place she served as a legislation professor and administrator at Syracuse College and the College of the District of Columbia.

She additionally was affiliate director of Georgetown College Regulation Heart’s Institute for Public Illustration, the place she supervised litigation earlier than the Federal Communications Fee and federal courts, together with the US Supreme Courtroom.

Reuben-Cooke served on Duke’s Board of Trustees from 1989-2001 and was honored by the college in 2011 with the Duke College Distinguished Alumni Award, the college stated.

She died on October 22, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia. She was 72.


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