Remembrances in Black
Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience at the University of Arkansas, 1940s–2000s
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Arkansas Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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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...
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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...
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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...
Key to the Organization of This Book
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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...
Chapter 1. In the Beginning
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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...
Chapter 2. Taking the Moderate Path: Desegregation in the 1950s
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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...
Chapter 3. To Prevent “Irreparable Harm”: Desegregation and the 1960s
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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...
Chapter 4. BAD Challenges Desegregation in the 1970s
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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...
Chapter 5. “Making an Honest Effort”: Desegregation and the University of Arkansas in the 1980s
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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...
Chapter 6. Desegregation Work Still in Progress: The University of Arkansas in the 1990s
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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. ...
Chapter 7. Destination: Diversity and Desegregation in the 2000s
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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...
Afterword: Write This Down
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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...
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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
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Appendix B: African American Enrollment at the University of Arkansas
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Appendix C: African American Timeline at the University of Arkansas
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Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2010