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Jay Clark/ECU News Service
Laura Leary Elliott, ECU's first African-American graduate, waves to the crowd as she rides along in the ECU 2012 homecoming parade.
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Jay Clark/ECU News Service Laura Leary Elliott, ECU's first African-American graduate, waves to the crowd as she rides along in the ECU 2012 homecoming parade.

ECU's first black student dies

By Katherine Ayers

The Daily Reflector

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Almost a half century after graduating from East Carolina University, Laura Marie Leary Elliott finally attended her first Pirate football game last fall.

Elliott, who died on Monday, was the first black student to attend ECU. The Class of 1966 graduate remembered her experience as “lonely” and “scary.”


“It was like I was in a robotic stage,” she said in a January ECU news story. “Like slow motion. Go here, do this. I didn’t feel like I belonged.”

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart