The month of February is a time to reflect on the historical barriers broken by African-Americans. Whether it’s in education, politics, advocacy, music, or film, we honor those who paved a way for so many.

Today, we spotlight Grambling State University.

Grambling State University is a Historical Black College and University located in Grambling, La. It opened its doors on Nov. 1, 1901 as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. Founded by a group of African-American farmers in 1896, who wanted to organize and operate a school for American-Americans in northern Louisiana, went through a lot of name changes and curriculum changes before landing its current name, Grambling.

In 1905, the school was renamed North Louisiana Agricultural and Industrial School and relocated to where it is currently housed. By 1928, the school was able to offer two-year professional certificates and diplomas after becoming a state junior college. Later on in 1938, the school put a focus on teacher certifications and offered professional certifications after students completed their third academic year.

The first baccalaureate degree was awarded in 1944, in elementary education.

In 1946, another name changed occurred, making the school Grambling College, naming it after a farmer who donated the land where the school was constructed. Three years later, the college earned its first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

1974 became the year when the school officially became Grambling State University. Over the course of the years, Grambling has expanded and prospered by incorporating new academic programs, adding new facilities to the 384-acre campus, including a business and computer science building, school of nursing, student services building, a stadium, and an intramural sports center.

Famous Alumni/Attendees of Grambling State University

  • E-40, rapper
  • Erykah Badu, Grammy Award winning artist
  • Natalie Desselle-Reid, actress, best know for role in B*A*P*S and Disney’s Cinderella
  • Judi Ann Mason, television writer, producer, playwright
  • Charles M. Blow, anchor on the Black News Channel
  • Ivory V. Nelson, president of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
  • James “Shack” Harris, first black quarterback to start in the NFL
  • Ronnie Coleman, retired professional bodybuilder
  • Willis Reed, retired NBA player
  • Sammy White, retired NFL player
  • Margaret Carter, politician
  • Maestro Curtis, musician, composer, arranger, music executive