Ernest Cohen during a reunion of early Black alums, 1973

Ernest Cohen at a reunion of early Black alums, 1973
Courtesy MIT Museum

Ernest Cohen (center) during a reunion of early Black alums, 1973.

On going to MIT

I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina in the late 1950’s, the child of two teachers, a mother who taught in Middle School and a father who taught classes in Masonry.  Though some would call our surroundings as humble, I was surrounded by books, ideas, aspirations and opportunities to build things.

I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer and was tracking to MIT early. I was my high school valedictorian. When I took the PSAT's and then later the SAT's, I did very well. 

I arrived at MIT in September 1960. At the time, there were 3 Blacks in my class, and only 12 Blacks in MIT’s undergraduate school of about 3600 students. I studied in the stacks at Hayden library, which were as quiet as a tomb. This helped me get on Dean’s list by end of second term. Though my very first computer course in the fall of 1960 was a disaster, I learned more than I realized.

--Ernest "Ernie" Cohen '64, BAMIT Newsletter (July 2014)

Timeline: 1970s
School: School of Engineering
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Life: Black Alumni/ae of MIT (BAMIT)
Career: Engineering
Object: Image
Collection: Ernest Cohen