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Pfeiffer University celebrates Black History Month

alinenoel1959 georgesingleton1969
 Aline Noel  George Singleton

Throughout February, Pfeiffer will highlight the contributions and achievements of several noteworthy alumni, faculty and students as we observe Black History Month.  Founder Emily Prudden, a probable late 19th-century visionary, set a socially progressive example for Pfeiffer and racial integration by establishing a number of home-based schools, nearly half of which were dedicated to the education of disadvantaged black students.

Did you know…?

  • In 1958, Pfeiffer College became the first all-white, four-year, church related school in North Carolina to admit a black student, Aline Noel, a decision made by President J. Lem Stokes.
  • Mrs. Noel enrolled as a junior, meeting admission requirements after attending Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn.; North Carolina A &T; and University of Cincinnati. She commuted from her home in Albemarle and graduated in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • In 1964, George Singleton was admitted on full scholarship as Pfeiffer's first African American residential student at the Misenheimer campus. At Pfeiffer, he met his wife, Jane Williams '66.
  • After graduating in 1969, Mr. Singleton, who had been a member of Pfeiffer's choir, started a choral program at Boylan Haven Mather School in Camden, S.C., his alma mater, where he returned to teach. He also earned a master's degree in vocal performance from American University in Washington D.C.
  • With the U.S. Air Force, he was one of 15 African-Americans chosen to fully integrate the Air Force Band as a member of the Singing Sergeants. This opportunity led to an offer from the Air Force to further his study of music, including opera, at the University of Salzburg, Austria, and a chance to perform the title role in Don Giovanni at the university's Mozarteum.
  • Now retired from the military, Mr. Singleton, who still directs choirs and performs, has become an accomplished photographer, particularly portraits, and has served as president and chairman of the Maryland Professional Photographers.

Many thanks to Dr. Michael Thompson, chair and professor of History, and Dr. Sylvia Hoffmire, assistant professor of English, for their research and perspective, and to Jonathan Hutchinson, university archivist, for his assistance. 

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