Cleveland Donald Jr. was the second black graduate of the University of Mississippi, andstarted a black studies program at the college. Born in Newton, Miss., Donald attended Tougaloo College in Jackson for a year, then enrolled at the University of Mississippi in 1964 and graduated in 1966 with a history degree. He later earned a doctorate from Cornell University.Along with James Meredith and another person, Donald entered Ole Miss under a federal protection order. In 1962, Meredith was the first black to enroll and later, the first to graduate.
“When I first went to Ole Miss, John Doar was then (an assistant) U.S. attorney general. He told me only James Meredith could’ve put up with this tremendous explosion that took place at Ole Miss and to be as unflappable as he was to events taking place around him,” Donald said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press.
During his career, Donald was a professor at the University of Texas, the State University of New York, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut, where he also served as director of its Waterbury campus.Cleveland Donald returned to Mississippi often. He worked with former Gov. William Winter on programs at the Ole Miss Institute for Racial Reconciliation, which is named for Winter.
Cleveland Donald Jr. passed away on January 26, 2012 at the age of 65.