The University of Chicago’s first Black woman to earn her doctorate degree is officially a part of history!
According to the Chicago Tribune, Georgiana Rose Simpson arrived in 1907, and her presence alone caused uproar among among the school’s white students and she was eventually asked to move off campus.
Simpson obliged, and continued her studies by commuting to campus. She eventually went on to become one of the first Black women in not just the university but the country, to graduate with a doctorate, records show.
Simpson’s accomplishment has largely gone unknown.
On Tuesday, two university students will unveil a statue of Simpson at the Reynolds Club–the university’s student center–which at one point in the university’s history was only accessible by white males.
Asya Akca and Shae Omonijo say the mood is an effort to grant Simpson her rightful place in university and Chicago history.
“The University of Chicago is on the South Side in a predominantly African-American community, and yet there is not that much African-American history represented on our campus,” Omonijo told the Tribune. “This is despite the fact that so many prominent black scholars came from this institution. It’s important to see and know her. … Classes may be hard, you might fail a midterm or not know what to major in. … But at the end of the day, if she pushed through, you can make it and graduate.”
In Chicago, There are a few memorials that honor women like Jane Addams, but very few statues present actual images of a notable woman.
“Oftentimes women’s history is untold and underrepresented in our world,” Akca said. “That’s something we both want to fix. This is a problem, not only in Chicago, but in Washington, D.C., and Louisville (Ky.) and everywhere else.”