A colored student is refused service at State College restaurants

September, 1923

The first recorded acts of racial discrimination in State College occurred when Ko Wie Gbu “William” Donma was refused service at several area restaurants.

At one point, Donma fell ill and required the attention of a doctor, who described his condition as severe malnutrition. An investigation revealed that, “for months, Donma had been attempting to prepare meals in his room at the Old Main building, as no eating establishment in town would serve him because of his race.”

Donma, a native of Liberia, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry in 1923.  He would go on to have a distinguished teaching career at South Carolina State Agricultural and Mechanical College (now South Carolina State University) from 1928 until his death in 1951.  On May 2, 1973, the South Carolina State College Board of Trustees honored Donma by naming the school’s main administration building the “Ko W.G. Donma Administration Building.”