There’s a reason minority students are hailed as a commodity (read: showered in scholarships) when they enroll at prestigious universities nowadays. Not, it's not just guilt.

Diversity on college campuses was once as rare as sobriety is now, and black representation across many mediums, including film, television, government and business, set a strikingly low bar for racial tolerance.

Luckily for modern whippersnappers of color, the Civil Rights movement swept in during the latter half of the 20th century to save us from systematic oppression. But like anything involving raucous mobs of reactionary racists, arriving at that point wasn't easy. 

Accordingly, the first black students at dozens of schools (not just in the south) faced countless hurdles in their journeys to obtain an education. Giant mobs, picket lines, nuisance fires, and militant rioters hurling profanities were all par for the rocky course these pioneers faced. Eventually, though, the men and women on the right side of history, the side pushing against the tide, prevailed. 

Here are their trials and tribulations: The First Black Students Admitted to 15 Prestigious U.S. Universities, and Their Stories.

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