Citadel to Pass Another Milestone
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ The Citadel passes another milestone this week with the graduation of its first black female cadets six years after the state military college opened its gates to women.
``Coming into school, we weren’t thinking about coming in as African Americans. We were more concerned about being females,″ said Natosha Mitchell of Dyersburg, Tenn.
Seven black women are among 298 cadets _ 20 of them female _ expected to receive diplomas Saturday.
``Without Shannon Faulkner we would not have been here today,″ said Jamey McCloud of Wadmalaw Island.
Faulkner waged a protracted fight in federal court to become a Citadel cadet. She enrolled as the college’s first female cadet under a judge’s order in 1995 but dropped out after less than a week citing the stress of the court fight and her isolation in the state military college’s all-male corps of cadets.
The next year, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the all-male admissions policy at Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional, the Citadel opened to women.
Nancy Mace, who graduated in 1999, was the first female cadet to graduate from the Citadel.
Renee Hypolite of Philadelphia said she used the challenges faced by Faulkner as motivation.
``It actually encouraged me to come,″ said Hypolite, who is black. ``I felt like the first female who came didn’t have success but I can. I can show them I can.″