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African American Studies
University of Mississippi

Timeline of African American Experience at UM: 1990s


pre-1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000
History of African-American Studies Program

Information provided by the University of Mississippi Libraries Archives and Special Collections
Rob Evans

Rob Evans

In 1992, Rob Evans became the first African American to serve as a head coach at the University of Mississippi. He served as the basketball coach from 1992-1998.

In 1993, Dr. Donald Peters became the first African American appointed Vice Chancellor at the University of Mississippi. Peters served for two years as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.



In 1994 Louis Westerfield became the first African American Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law.


Westerfield was born in 1949.The son of a Mississippi sharecropper, he received his bachelor’s degree from Southern University at New Orleans in 1971. In 1974, he received his Jurist Doctor from Loyola University School of Law, and in 1977, he joined the faculty at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans. He earned a Masters of Law from Columbia in 1980 and came to the University of Mississippi as a professor of law in 1983. In 1986, Westerfield was named Dean and a Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University School of Law; he served there until 1990 when he became a Professor of Law and the Dean of Loyola University School of Law. He was the first African American to hold that position. In 1994, Westerfield returned to the University of Mississippi as the Dean of the School of Law, the Director of the Law Center, and a Professor of Law. His selection as Dean of the Law School made him the first African American named to that position. On August 24, 1996, Westerfield died of a heart attack.

Debbie McCain

Debbie McCain | Daily Mississippian photo

Debbie McCain became the first African American crowned Most Beautiful in 1996. A native of Batesville, Mississippi, McCain was one of 60 contestants to compete in the competition.