Auburn's Munday chosen for WKU alumni hall
By Jim Turner


Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM



A lifelong resident of Auburn is one of three Kentuckians chosen for induction this fall into Western Kentucky University's Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Margaret Munday, a retired music teacher who worked 33 years in the Logan County Schools, holds a special place in WKU's history of diversity as the first African-American undergraduate student to attend classes on the Hill. During a turbulent time for race relations in America, Munday was a pioneer and paved the way for others to follow.

She is joined by Russ Faxon, one of the nation's top sculptors, and the late Brigadier General Victor Strahm, Kentucky's first World War I flying ace. They both came to The Hill from Bowling Green.

The 21st class of noted alumni will be inducted during a Homecoming week luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Sloan Convention Center. For ticket information, contact the WKU Alumni Association at 1-888-WKU-ALUM.

Munday attended Auburn Training School, Adairville Training School and Knob City High School, graduating at age 16. She was valedictorian of her junior high and high school classes. She originally enrolled at Kentucky State College, a historically African-American school, but wanted to be closer to home.

On Sept. 15, 1956, after Western Kentucky State College and Kentucky's other higher education institutions were desegregated, Munday transferred from Kentucky State and enrolled in classes on The Hill. She and her parents, the late Theodore and Agnes Munday, met with Western President Kelly Thompson, who welcomed her to The Hill but warned it would not always be easy for her. She also received support from Librarian Margie Helm, who was an Auburn native, and professors Ivan Wilson and J.F. McChesney. The Fine Arts Center at WKU, where music classes are now taught, is named for Wilson.

She remembers most people being kind to her. In fact, she was elected secretary of the college chorale. She didn't realize it at first, but she had been assigned a security guard by the Warren County Sheriff's Office. She rarely went anywhere on campus or in Bowling Green that he wasn't nearby.

Munday, a music major and member of the Western Chorus, received support and encouragement from Thompson, Librarian Margie Helm and Professors Ivan Wilson and H.F. McChesney. She successfully pursued her bachelor's degree despite the sociological aspects associated with her journey into unchartered territory that ushered in an era of social and educational change at WKU and the region.

Young Margaret Munday gained her love of music from her mother. She took piano lessons and began playing at services of Macedonia Baptist Church in Auburn when she was about 10 years old. She continues in that role today.

After her graduation from Western in 1960, she first worked for Logan County Hospital before Superintendent Robert Piper hired her to teach in the Logan County Schools. Munday taught school at the all-black Johnstown School in Olmstead. In 1964 she became the first black teacher at Auburn High School and eventually taught at every school in the system. When Logan County High School opened in the fall of 1982, she was on the faculty. In 1995, she retired after more than three decades as a music and chorus teacher.

During her teaching career, Munday received several state and regional music association awards. For 15 years, she was director of the Union District Youth Choir, which consisted of members from 32 churches. In 1999, she was honored by WKU's Society of African American Alumni at its Spring Celebration.




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