Texas A&M Cadets To Be Led By First Black Commander

Ann McClure's picture

Nearly a half-century after African-Americans were admitted to predominantly white Texas A&M University, a black student has finally reached the pinnacle of one of its signature organizations.

Marquis Alexander next school year will become commander of A&M's Corps of Cadets, a high-profile post that involves establishing the cadets' dress codes for their military-style uniforms and setting their daily schedule, including physical training that can begin before dawn.

“I'm not going to lie. There is a sense of pride that's there,” Alexander, 22, said Wednesday, standing in front of the “Corps Arches,” an arched brick wall that marks the entrance to the dormitory area for the 2,100 members of the Aggie Corps of Cadets. “I look at it as encouragement to other people to get out and do whatever they want no matter what their background is.”

Texas A&M is about 100 miles northwest of Houston where Alexander, the oldest of 10 children in his family and the first to go to college, grew up and attended high school. Despite recruiting efforts by the school, Houston's inner-city areas typically don't produce future Aggies, and black students represent less than 4 percent of the 40,000 undergraduate students at the College Station campus.

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