From the beginning, Roosevelt University welcomed African-Americans and others who were not welcome at other colleges and universities. Many outstanding African-Americans have connections to Roosevelt University.
Chicago's first African-American mayor, Harold Washington attended Roosevelt University from 1946-1949, serving president of the Student Council.
Pioneering African-American chemist Percy Julian was a Trustee at Roosevelt.
African-American Sociologist St. Clair Drake was a professor at Roosevelt from 1946 to 1968.
Linguist Lorenzo Turner, who did pioneering research on the Gullah language of coastal South Carolina and Georgia was a Professor of English at Roosevelt from 1946-1972.