Published: Jan. 17, 2019


In this 2007 photo, Polly McLean, University of Colorado Boulder associate professor of media studies, is seen in front of the childhood home of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, the first African American female CU graduate, while holding a portrait of Buchanan that was probably taken at the time of her graduation. Photo by Glenn Asakawa, the Denver Post/Getty Images. 

Never officially recognized during her lifetime, the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Colorado was posthumously honored this spring. Now, a biography telling the long-overlooked story of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan has been published.

On Jan. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Koenig Alumni Center, Polly E. Bugros McLean, associate professor of media studies, will help celebrate the publication of Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family’s Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High.

Remembering Lucile tells the remarkable life story of Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, CU’s first black woman graduate and a lifelong educator. In the book, Professor McLean depicts the rise of the African American middle class through the historical journey of Lucile and her family from slavery in northern Virginia to life in the American West, using their personal story as a lens for examining the experience of middle-class blacks in the early 20th century.

The book will be available for sale, and  McLean will sign copies.  

The event is sponsored the departments of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures, history, women and gender studies and ethnic studies, and also CU Boulder's Center of the America West