Re-Integrating Hanover College
This article, transcribed from the Hanover College Triangle,
is part of a collection of primary sources on
the re-integration of Hanover College in the 1950s and
1960s. The original Triangles are
available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College
For other articles and oral history transcripts, see the
For more on the people, places, and events discussed in them,
see the Guide.
N.B.: The editor's note below is original to the
Aaron Woods III, "Black Collegians Generate New Negro Mood,"
Hanover College Triangle, 12 Dec. 1967.
Editor's note: The commentary
following is published in the hope that it will provide insight into the
thinking of the young Negro community today. The author is a
senior student at Hanover College. This is the first of a two-part
As another long hot summer has drawn to a
close, the battleground of Negro rights shifts from the ghettos of the
northern metropolises to the white campus. This sweeping black
movement which is led by the black collegian is generating a new mood
Traditionally when the infrequent Negro was accepted at a white campus he
was so elated that he worked frantically to become what he imagined the
proper Negro gentleman in a white environment. In his attempts to
attain the proper image he found himself confronted with an identity
crisis and became what might to be best termed a "white nigger."
Even though in the midst of the flow of activities and at the paramount of
acceptance made possible by his assimilation he became isolated from his
true self by having to conform to standards and values that held little
meaning and enrichment for him, since he could never realize the fruits of
these values in a hostile, color conscious society. Soon he became
aware of that pervading socio-phychological distance which separates him
from his white peer.
Until now he felt relatively complacent. However, viewing the
situation in its true light he is unable to reconcile the bitter emotions
within himself which became expressive of hostility.
The result of these factors is the formation Afro or all black clubs or
societies. The membership of these black societies is characterized
by a mood of militance, articulation and chauvinism. The members of
these groups challenge the basic tenets of white America by continually
assaulting the racial conscience of White America with protests of the
inhuman treatment received by the Negro in America. Along with this
surge to blackness or aggressive pride of being black come the rejection
of the white culture. The basis of this new movement is an emerging
black revolution which ranges in tone from angry militancy to a brotherly
desire for mutual improvement which does not reject violence as a means to
achieving the end.
Afro-Black groups are formed for various reasons. Among them is the
feeling that the curriculum in American universities has omitted
or degraded the Afro-American contribution to the nation's
history. While, on the other hand, many merely tired of eating alone
at dining tables, enjoying little or no social life, and fending off
questions about civil rights from white classmates. The creation of
Afro-societies may be viewed as a type of self-segregation. The
difference lies in the fact that it is a voluntary association, not a
forced one. This voluntary association of black students in helping
them deal with the realities of life and college and as individuals and
Negroes. The best known of these clubs or societies are located on the
campuses of Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and San Jose State.
Recently an assemblage of 200 persons met on the second floor of the
Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles for the express purpose of deciding
whether or not to call a boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games by U. S. Negro
athletes. As the meeting closed the participants were divided as to
the appropriate action, however the majority voted in favor of the
boycott. The gravity of this proposition lies in its usage as a
means to express disenchantment with the American system of racial
injustice. It is the plight of American Negroes to remain trapped in
virtual bondage in a society which recognizes neither his culture nor his
heritage, but granted him his freedom over 100 years ago. The black
man realized that civilized reason and Christian love which brought him to
America in bondage now taunts him with a mythical freedom.
The Negro, an involuntary African transplant finds himself in the center
of an unstable, emotional confused society, flanked by a hostile, bigoted
Southerner to his right and the intellectually liberal but emotional
racist Northerner on his left.
The feelings of the American white are marked by ambivalence toward the
Negro. This ambivalence is manifested in a standard of behavior to
which the Negro is expected to adhere. Any deviation from this
standard constitutes an assault on the power structure. The white
man becomes alarmed because the Negro has refused to accept his
traditional backseat, and the white man's definition of the Negro's self
and identity. It is this white-imposed standard that demands the
Negro to be more farseeing and patient than whites and finds virtue in
non-violence, inaction, and Tomism. As a result, the militant,
chauvinistic Negro imposes a paranoia which transcends the minds of the
best thinking white Americans.
The dilemma of White America is that a segment of the population is
directing its efforts towards perpetuating the status quo which denies the
Negro his humanity. While at the same time, the American dream - -
freedom of opportunity, economic prosperity, and civil liberties - - is
fervently pursued at the expense of the American Negro. An example
of this is the great economic substance realized by industry through the
employment of cheap Negro labor. However, industry has done nothing
to help improve the economic, social and political. . . .
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