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Mon, 07.13.1868

Marcellus Neal, Science Teacher born

Marcellus Neal

*The birth of Marcellus Neal is celebrated on this date in 1868.  He was a Black science educator and writer.  Marcellus Neal was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, but the family later moved to Greenfield, Indiana. 

Neal excelled academically at the local high school, graduating with distinction.  Neal's high school academic record earned him a scholarship to Indiana University, where he enrolled in the fall of 1891. He did well academically and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics on June 19, 1895, the first Black graduate of Indiana University.  

During his time at Indiana University, Neal was a member of the Married Folks' Club. His wife is listed as Mrs. Caledonia Neal.  She was a southern teacher, whose teaching skills were highly regarded.  The Neal’s were not allowed to live on campus, enter the Indiana Memorial Union, or eat in establishments on campus.  For ten years after his graduation from IU, Neal did graduate work, held short-term teaching jobs, and traveled, spending time in both Europe and Canada. For nearly twenty-five years, he served as the head of the science department at Washington High School in Dallas, Texas.  Neal and his wife left Dallas to live in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at a Civil Service job.  He also completed a treatise on science and wrote political editorials for Black newspapers.  

On October 20, 1939, Marcellus Neal was struck by a car in a hit and run at State and 37th Street in Chicago. He died of his injuries on November 6, 1839 and was buried in Mount Greenwood Cemetery, in Glenwood, Illinois.  The Neal-Marshall Alumni Club was founded in 1981 as a means of meeting the needs of black students, faculty, and staff, while also promoting African American history at Indiana University. The organization was actually founded in Jackson, Mississippi, while other Indiana chapters soon followed in Gary, and Indianapolis. The Neal-Marshall Center on the Indiana University Bloomington campus is jointly named for Neal and Frances Marshall, the first Black female student to graduate from Indiana University.   

The Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center opened on the Indiana University campus in 1969. The center was originally called the "Black House," but renamed the Black Culture Center in 1972. The Center was located in various buildings on campus but moved into its new home at 109 North Jordan Avenue in 2001 after years of effort by students, alumni, and administration. In April 1995, the Indiana General Assembly passed a resolution to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Neal's graduation, and coinciding with the 175th anniversary of Indiana University.  

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I kissed a kiss in youth Upon a dead man's brow; And that was long ago- And I'm a grown man now. It's lain there in the dust, Thirty years and more- My lips that... SCINTILLA by William Stanley Braithwaite.
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