Alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered in the East Lounge of the Indiana Memorial Union for the unveiling of the highly anticipated portrait of Carrie Parker Taylor, the first female African-American to attend IU.
Joining in on the celebration was Taylor's youngest son, 100-year-old Leon Taylor, as well as several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie spoke about IU's history and the stories of the individuals who comprise it, as Taylor's portrait was unveiled as part of the "Women of Indiana University" art exhibit.
When IU Archives director Dina Kellams happened upon Taylor's name in a brief newspaper story nearly two years ago, all that was really known about IU's first African-American female student was just that, her name. Over the course of a few months, Kellams continued her research, which eventually led to finding Taylor's family. Since then, the family has made the trip to Indiana several times to walk the campus their mother and grandmother did so many years ago, and the university created the Carrie Parker Taylor Scholarship to honor her legacy, which was awarded to the inaugural recipients in May 2016. Now, as another way to celebrate her legacy, Taylor's portrait will hang next to the portraits of other influential women who helped shape IU, such as Elinor Ostrom, Nellie Showers Teter and others.
Ashley Smith, the artist commissioned to paint the portrait, is from Elkhart, Indiana, and is in her first year of grad school in IU's School of Informatics and Computing. As an undergraduate, she studied fine arts, psychology and African Diaspora studies at IU.