Nancy Davis was the first African-American student to attend Oklahoma State University.
Born & raised in Sapulpa, she graduated from Langston University in 1948. There she was roommates with fellow educational trailblazer Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher. Davis began teaching home economics at Dunjee High School in Choctaw, and she soon decided to pursue a master’s degree in the summertime at OSU. She was turned away from her first attempt to enroll, and was told by the head of the home economics to go somewhere elsewhere for school. After NAACP officials visited campus, Davis was allowed to enroll in 1949. Although she faced institutional prejudice, she found support from her professors and fellow students - who petitioned for her to sit with them in class and refused to eat at restaurants which wouldn’t serve Nancy.
Davis graduated with her master’s degree in 1952 and had a long teaching career in the Choctaw and Oklahoma City school districts. Throughout her teaching career she was active in the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement.
OSU named Davis a “Distinguished Alumna” in 1999, named a residence hall after her in 2001, and celebrates “Nancy Randolph Davis Day” on February 1st of each year.
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