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Purdue permanently honors sisters who helped integrate student housing

parker sisters.jpg
Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 10:20:20-05

WEST LAFAYETTE — In the late 1940s, Purdue University students Winifred and Frieda Parker could not live on campus because of segregation.

Along with their father, the sisters petitioned Indiana's governor who overturned the university's rule.

The two became some of the first Black women who were allowed to move in.

In 2021, the school named two residence halls — Winifred Parker and Frieda Parker Halls — after them. It was the first time campus buildings were named for Black alumnae. The halls are located next to the Black Cultural Center.

On Friday, Purdue unveiled a new tribute to the Parker Sisters.

There is now a commemorative plaque for each sister in their respective halls and a story-telling feature in the Frieda Parker Hall Lobby.

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The Parkers' descendants, including Winifred's granddaughter Mari Faines, were involved in the project.

"She's an icon, and when I reflected on that, the first time I heard about it — you could be nothing but joyful. I always reflect on the resilience that her and her sister had,"

"For [ ], it was about how do you grow the community and this moment shows the importance of community. She would be nothing but grateful.

Purdue also produced a documentary about Winifred and Frieda.