Candlelight Vigil Honors First African-American Professor at MU

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COLUMBIA - Hundreds of candles were lit Monday night at the University of Missouri for the passing of the first tenured African-American professor at MU, Arvarh Strickland. The ceremony also featured speeches, prayers, music and dancing.

Strickland begin his career at MU in 1969 and retired in 1996. He became known for increasing African-American enrollment and for transforming MU's culture.

"He was somewhat of a prime mover, he was modest and would say there were others, but him being here really got a lot going," said Joe Barnes, who was a friend of Strickland.

The university honored Strickland in 2007 by naming a building after him. He died last Tuesday at the age of 82.

"Even though I didn't directly feel his presence, I feel his presence, when I look around and see so many African-American students, a black studies program, black professors, the black culture center, just all of this," said president of Legion of Black Collegians Marnae Chavers.