Barbara June (Rose) Taylor – Penn State’s First Black Female Student-Athlete

Throughout the month of February, The Underground team will shine a light on prominent black figures.


Before 1968, Penn State had no record of a black female intercollegiate student-athlete.

Barbara June (Rose) Taylor made history that year, becoming the pioneer for black female student-athletes after being selected to the  Penn State women’s gymanastics team.

A native of Beaver, Pa., Taylor graduated from the university with a degree in agricultural economics.

While Taylor only competed with the squad her freshman year due to family illness and other interests, her time on the team was not in vain.

During her freshman year, Taylor excelled on the uneven parallel bars, winning many of the events that she competed in.

Taylor paved the way for future black female student-athletes at Penn State such as women’s basketball’s Toni Clarke & Kahadeejah Herbert, women’s volleyball’s Megan Hodge & Deja McClendon and so many more.


About Adriana Lacy (64 Articles)
Adriana is from the oh-so-famous town of “Right Outside of Philly,” Pennsylvania currently double majoring in Public Relations and African-American Studies. She is a passionate sports fan, avid reader, and an obsessive tweeter. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about sports and social justice while drinking urban-framed, artisan crafted coffee. A proud black student, Adriana considers herself a social justice warrior and strives to promote racial equality and diversity in her community. Email her at and tweet with her at @adriana_lacy

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