Legendary Alum Makes Visit to the University Archives

Meet Mr. Ray Bellamy who visited the University Archives on September 28, 2016 (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Pioneering UM alum Ray Bellamy visited the University Archives on September 28, 2016 (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections).

By Koichi Tasa, University Archivist

Even when I was a newly hired University Archivist in fall 2007, I knew the name Ray Bellamy, his face, and his historical importance for the University as the first black athlete (1967) and the first black president of the student government (1971) from Dr. Charlton Tebeau’s 1976 publication The University of Miami: A Golden Anniversary History, 1926-1976.

So, the staff of the University Archives were thrilled to meet the legendary alumnus during his recent visit to Miami in the last week of September. He first visited the current UM Libraries exhibition Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s, then came up to the 8th floor to review our materials on him as well as our historical collections of black students and faculty.

I was happy to find the picture of this historic moment in the February 1, 2002 issue of The Herald Tribune.

The Herald Tribune, February 1, 2002.

He talked to us about his experience when at the University in the midst of the racial integration struggle in Miami.

You can find out a lot about Mr. Bellamy’s accomplishments on the Internet and YouTube as well as in numerous articles and publications of the University. I would like to show you a compelling documentary I found on YouTube titled Changing the Game: a Deep South Conflict, a Compromise of Attitudes, which was created by David and Matt Mariutto (see below). I think this is not only a great piece on Mr. Bellamy but also a powerful teaching material on diversity.

Mr. Bellamy was brought to us by Ms. Denise Mincey-Mills, who is one of the co-chairs of the Alumni Association’s program “First Black Graduates Project,” which celebrates the first black graduates of the University of Miami in the 1960s and the 1970s. Please go to the link below for further information about the program, which takes place on February 24 and 25, 2017.

Ms. Mincey-Mills (pictured on the right) has been a driving force for the First Black Graduates Projects. We met her in January 2015, when she visited us to research Ibis yearbooks from the 1960s to identify black students. (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Ms. Mincey-Mills (pictured on the right) is a driving force behind the the First Black Graduates Project. She visited us first in January 2015 to research Ibis yearbooks from the 1960s to identify black students. (Photo by Cory Czajkowski, Special Collections)

Included in the program is a visit to the Otto G. Richter Library to view an exhibition “U Trailblazers – Black Students and Faculty Who Broke Color Barrier in the 1960s and the 1970s” (*tentative title) curated by the University Archives for the Black History Month as well as a reception offered by Richter and a lecture by UM’s history professor Dr. Donald Spivey.

See also: Miami Magazine article on the First Black Graduates Project

(Courtesy of Hurricanesports.com / Release: 2/04/2013)