We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Remembrances in Black

Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience at the University of Arkansas, 1940s–2000s

Charles F. Robinson II and Lonnie R. Williams

Publication Year: 2010

With the admittance in 1948 of Silas Hunt to the University of Arkansas Law School, the university became the first southern public institution of higher education to officially desegregate without being required to do so by court order. The process was difficult, but an important first step had been taken. Other students would follow in Silas Hunt’s footsteps, and they along with the university would have to grapple with the situation. Remembrances in Black is an oral history that gathers the personal stories of African Americans who worked as faculty and staff and of students who studied at the state’s flagship institution. These stories illustrate the anguish, struggle, and triumph of individuals who had their lives indelibly marked by their experiences at the school. Organized chronologically over sixty years, this book illustrates how people of color navigated both the evolving campus environment and that of the city of Fayetteville in their attempt to fulfill personal aspirations. Their stories demonstrate that the process of desegregation proved painfully slow to those who chose to challenge the forces of exclusion. Also, the remembrances question the extent to which desegregation has been fully realized.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press


pdf iconDownload PDF

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. xi

This oral history is largely the idea of my friend and coeditor, Dr. Lonnie Williams. Some years ago when I approached him about my interest in writing a new historical monograph about desegregation at the University of Arkansas, Lonnie suggested that we first gather the stories of the participants in that history. Without Lonnie, this project would have been virtually impossible because he had the connections to the historical...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xiii-xiv

As I sit here, winding down from what has proven to be yet another rewarding and long day in academe, my evening ritual of checking the mail while intermittently watching the television set to see what the day’s national news conveys has left me both intrigued and saddened. Roland S. Martin, CNN political analyst, is sandwiched between Soledad O’Brian, CNN anchor, and Peter Beinart, senior political...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xv-xviii

On April 28, 2006, the University of Arkansas sponsored the Silas Hunt Legacy Awards Banquet at the Town Center in the heart of downtown Fayetteville. Attended by alumni and dignitaries from around the state and nation, this event was advertised by university officials as an opportunity to recognize African American students, faculty, and staff who were instrumental in desegregating the university. In addition to commemorating the efforts of these black pioneers, the occasion also allowed the university to celebrate...

read more

Key to the Organization of This Book

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xix-xx

This volume is an attempt to better understand the experiences of African Americans at the University of Arkansas on the Fayetteville campus from Hunt’s fateful decision to the present. It contains the stories of African American students, staff, and faculty who endured the largely racially homogenous university environment for a period that spanned...

read more

Chapter 1. In the Beginning

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-14

William J. Good, the director of public relations for the University of Arkansas, wrote the above statement in response to a letter sent by James R. Goodrich, the assistant editor of Ebony magazine, who indicated that the black publication desired to run an article on the admission of Edith Mae Irby, an African American woman from Hot Springs, to the university’s previously all-white medical school in the fall of 1948. In accordance...

read more

Chapter 2. Taking the Moderate Path: Desegregation in the 1950s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 15-44

John T. Caldwell, president of the University of Arkansas from 1952 to 1959, wrote the above comments to a friend, Ervin Canham, the editor of the Christian Science Monitor, in April 1956 after Canham solicited statements from Caldwell about his thoughts on desegregation.1 In keeping with the university’s policy toward public remarks on desegregation, Caldwell asked not to be quoted. Caldwell explained that any words attributed...

read more

Chapter 3. To Prevent “Irreparable Harm”: Desegregation and the 1960s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 45-141

President David Wiley Mullins made the above statement in an interview on November 4, 1968, when asked about the university’s policy on civil rights.1 Mullins avowed that the university embraced the idea of providing all students regardless of color every opportunity “to work towards his goals,” and he intimated that the university treated all students the same. Although Mullins’s statement accurately reflected...

read more

Chapter 4. BAD Challenges Desegregation in the 1970s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 143-211

A report issued in February 1969 by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare provided a snapshot of the University of Arkansas and its desegregation efforts.1 The agency offered ten “recommendations” intended to help the institution comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first six suggestions involved recruitment. The report encouraged...

read more

Chapter 5. “Making an Honest Effort”: Desegregation and the University of Arkansas in the 1980s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 213-234

By fall 1979, the members of Black Americans for Democracy had changed their student organization’s name to STAND (Students Taking a New Dimension).1 In addition, STAND announced that it had revised group goals to go along with its new name. These goals included gaining an appreciation for black heritage; improving interracial relationships; emphasizing education; and helping members develop leadership skills. These...

read more

Chapter 6. Desegregation Work Still in Progress: The University of Arkansas in the 1990s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 235-269

In March 1994, Dean Roderick McDavis made the above statement in response to the state legislature approving of the hiring of an affirmative action director for the University of Arkansas.1 McDavis, the first African American to hold the position of dean of a college in the university’s history, heartedly endorsed the decision of the legislature and saw the position as crucial to the institution’s desegregation efforts. ...

read more

Chapter 7. Destination: Diversity and Desegregation in the 2000s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 271-279

Chancellor John White made the remarks above during one of his annual State of the University addresses in 2007.1 As was the norm during his ten-year tenure, White emphasized the importance of diversity, referring to it as the institution’s “top institutional priority.” For White, enhancing the diversity of the campus encouraged “enlightened...

read more

Afterword: Write This Down

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 280-281

Write this down: In Exodus 17, following a major victory, God instructed Moses to record the momentous events that had occurred as testimonials and evidence of God’s grace and goodness to his people for future generations to know. Rarely is the gift in what we write down for ourselves, but rather in what we write down for others. Like the events in Exodus, the narratives of these black...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 282-283

This volume attempts to shed light on the experiences of African Americans who participated in the desegregation of the University of Arkansas from the late 1940s to the present. In it, we find stories of black faculty, students, and staff, making tremendous sacrifices in their efforts to create a more-inclusive campus environment. The importance of this work goes far beyond any emotional concern about the history of African Americans...

Appendix A: Biographies of the Interviewees

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 285-317

Appendix B: African American Enrollment at the University of Arkansas

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. 319

Appendix C: African American Timeline at the University of Arkansas

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 321-329


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 331-335

E-ISBN-13: 9781610753425
E-ISBN-10: 1610753429
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557289537
Print-ISBN-10: 1557289530

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 769187838
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Remembrances in Black

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville -- Employees -- Interviews.
  • African Americans -- Education (Higher) -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- History -- 20th century.
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville -- Students -- Interviews.
  • African American college students -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- History -- 20th century.
  • Discrimination in education -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- History -- 20th century.
  • College integration -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- History -- 20th century.
  • Education, Higher -- Social aspects -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Arkansas -- Fayetteville -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access