This is a photo of the Rev. John McCoy Moncrief, Jr. (1923-1955).

It is likely you have never seen or heard of him before, although his name and face are ones that all Sewanee people should recognize.

In the summer of 1953, John Moncrief, a young Episcopal priest from Orangeburg, South Carolina, broke the “color line” at Sewanee, becoming the first African American to enroll in the University of the South.

His actions were of singular importance in the history of this institution and the Episcopal Church. And yet those of us who have told the story of Sewanee’s slow departure from the racist practices of its first century have tended to have a blind spot when it comes to the young African American men who actually ended segregation by enrolling in the University of the South.

This “first draft” is an attempt to eliminate one of those blind spots. It shares what our research has uncovered about John Moncrief and his deliberate campaign to subvert Sewanee’s segregationist practices.

Click HERE to go to an illustrated website about his life and contributions to the University of the South.

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