UH remembers the unsolved murder of Lynn Eusan
Today, campus diversity brings students and faculty pride. However, 45 years ago this was not the case. In 1968, UH was still a mostly white school with a black student population of about 1,000 students. Fraternities were still segregated and racial tensions were high. This was Lynn Eusan’s world when she was crowned as the first African-American homecoming queen at UH.
Before she was crowned, Eusan received death threats and Greek organizations put on minstrel shows mocking her.
“This was the first time black students on the campus have banded together and really been effective against overwhelming odds,” Eusan said to the Houston Chronicle for a Dec. 1, 1968 story.
Racial tensions intensified shortly after Eusan was crowned, casting a shadow on her success.
According to the Houston Chronicle article, more than 100 activists presented Phillip Hoffman, then-UH president, with 10 demands in February 1969. These demands included an independent African-American studies department and more black faculty and counselors.
Although Eusan witnessed some changes to campus racial dynamics, she did not live long enough to see most of the positive changes to the University.
On Sept. 10, 1971, 23-year-old Eusan was found dead in the back of a car. According to a Chronicle article, the man suspected of being her murderer was charged and then acquitted in 1972. The case remains unsolved.
So this week, as we celebrate the wonderful things about being part of the UH community, we also have to remember those who, like Lynn Eusan, fought for our equality. Although she left this world too soon, she left a legacy that encourages us to defy the odds and always fight for what is right.
Life & Arts editor Paulina Rojas is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]