Before she was one of the first Black students at UND, Maggie Lowery was marching with Martin Luther King Jr. in rural Alabama.
“There was just something about him,” Lowery, who grew up between Montgomery and Selma, told the Herald. “It was like meeting the pope or something.”
She recalled large-scale meetings at local churches throughout Lowndes County every Sunday and seeing King on television nearly every night.
“There was a lot of segregation, still,” Lowery recalled. “Schools were segregated. Some stores we could go into, but then wasn’t treated fairly. Lunch counters and all of these places, you know, segregated.”
When Lowery grew up, she enrolled at UND. She ultimately earned two undergraduate degrees from the university, a master’s degree from Auburn and a doctorate in educational leadership from UND. After 30 years as a seamstress and juvenile corrections worker in California and an education administrator throughout the South, she moved back to Grand Forks in 2012 to finish her doctorate, then back to Alabama in 2019, then once again to Grand Forks in 2020.
Tamba-Kuii Bailey first moved to Grand Forks in 2009. Also a doctorate-holder, he is an assistant professor of counseling and counseling psychology at UND and a special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion .
Lowery spoke to the Herald about changes she’s seen in the Grand Forks area and more. Bailey answered a few Herald questions about King’s legacy, the work that’s been done in and around Grand Forks to improve race relations, and the work that still needs to be done. Both of their responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Lowery on her reception in Grand Forks in 1971
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