Texas university to launch task force on its segregationist history

HOUSTON (AP) Rice University will launch a task force to explore its segregationist history with the aim of sparking dialogue and further documenting its past.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the task force, which was announced in a June 4 memo to the university community, will launch in the fall.

Rice President David W. Leebron tells the newspaper "it's critical that we understand our history and the history of our country and the obstacles people still face to achieving full equality."

The school's 1891 charter said it was only open to whites. Black undergraduates weren't admitted until 1965.

Yearbooks show the school briefly had a student chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and had social gatherings with blackface at least until the 1980s.