Student Paved Way For SHSU Integration
The (Feb. 25) Huntsville Item has a piece on John A. Patrick (1946-95), the first African-American student admitted to Sam Houston State fifty years ago this year:
Patrick’s cousins, Willie and Richard Harrison, said he was the perfect person to be the first African-American integrated into SHSU...because of his charming personality and his high level of intelligence. “He was just an outstanding person. If Jackie Robinson was the perfect man to start integration in baseball, then John was the perfect man to begin the integration process at the university here in Huntsville,” Richard Harrison said Tuesday.
Patrick knew his integration in the college would open the door for other African-Americans, but he never thought of himself as a historical figure, according to Richard. As Patrick’s time at the school continued, his teachers and peers began to accept him as they realized that Patrick was an intelligent person with a likable personality.
Patrick graduated cum laude from SHSU and became a high school math teacher in Houston. Later, he moved on and taught in Galveston ISD.