On September 11, 1963, Henrie Monteith Treadwell, along with two other courageous students, seized the opportunity to change the dark traditions of segregation at the University of South Carolina and became the first African American students to attend the university. With the help of her Aunt Modjeska Simpkins, a civil rights activist, and her lawyer, Matthew James Perry Jr., Treadwell was able to enroll at USC. In 1965, Treadwell again made headlines for being the first black student to graduate from the university since 1877. Of her time at USC, Ms. Moneith Treadwell has said, ““It was not important for me to be admitted,” Dr. Treadwell says. “It was important that all African Americans meeting admissions criteria be admitted. Ending discrimination based on color or race was the real issue for me. I was just a ‘wedge,’ and I had a supportive family and community. I believe that people need to stand for something that may be greater than they are, or would be. Right is right, but it is not achieved unless a few everyday people, like me, stand and say ‘enough’ to tradition.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from USC, she continued her education and earned her master’s in biology from Boston University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Atlanta University. She completed post-doctoral studies in public health at Harvard University.
Today, Treadwell is the director of Community Voices at Morehouse School of Medicine where she studies healthcare for underserved populations and researches the health concerns of teenage African-American males, including prison health, health policy and health services.She served for 16 years as the program director at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, where she was responsible for initiatives to improve access to health coverage and services in the United States and southern Africa.
r. Treadwell has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Service Award in 2006, and she has served as a consultant to many national organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services Health Careers Opportunity Program. Dr. Treadwell also served as the chair of the division of mathematics and natural sciences at Morris Brown College from 1975-85. She a widow and the proud mother of three children and three grandchildren.