Always the overachiever, Karen Stevenson excelled academically and athletically, entering the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full scholarship, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, followed by establishing herself as a track star. In 1979, however, Stevenson achieved the greatest academic honor there is when she became the first black woman to receive the Rhodes Scholarship–awarded to only 32 Americans per year.
Prior to Stevenson’s acceptance of the scholarship, eight black men had earned the title Rhodes Scholar. During her two-year tenure at England’s Oxford University, Stevenson studied French and Russian literature. From there, she went on to graduate from Stanford University where she earned a law degree.
Today, the first black female Rhodes Scholar serves as Senior Counsel at Buchalter Nemer in Los Angeles, California.
Photo via Ebony Magazine