Linda Bell Blackburn, one of the first Black women to graduate from Princeton, pursued a degree in sociology and graduated magna cum laude. As an undergraduate she participated in the Association of Black Collegiates, established to support Black Ivy League students, and Harambee House, a local arts center which was open to both students and Princeton residents. Linda also secured a number of internships in the areas of welfare women’s rights, urban development and education in Africa. (
Her first post-Princeton position was in Nyeri, Kenya, where she taught English and math at a rural community school in the Aberdare Mountains. Later, a system engineering position at IBM evolved into a 28-year career in information technology management at AT&T, where she directed both domestic and international initiatives. As a participant in the Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program, Linda delivered technology and business information sessions at historically Black colleges and universities.
Linda received the Alumni Council Award for Service in 1992 for her commitment to promoting African American traditions and enhancing the black student experience at Princeton. She has served as a past president of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni, a member of the Alumni Council Executive Committee, was a board trustee for both the Princeton Area Alumni and the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, and is an active member of the Class of ’71.
Linda is married to Ronald Blackburn, a retired certified financial adviser. She is the mother of Akira Bell ’95, and grandmother of twins, Ethan Johnson and Samantha Johnson ’23.