Previous Triangle article . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Next Triangle article

Sarah Howard, "Campus Forum: Alternate Plan Given for Racial Relations," Hanover College Triangle, 14 May 1968.

Two weeks ago the Triangle carried a plan, proposed by Mr. Phelan, for the purpose of aiding the Negro youth. His basic presupposition was that education was the key answer to the Negro's plight. His plan was conceived with Hanover as the institution to be used.

First of all, may I commend Mr. Phelan for his concern and also for his effort in trying to seek a remedy. However, I must add that a plan such as his would never work at Hanover. Perhaps at a larger institution such as I.U. this plan might be feasible.

Why this plan wouldn't work is the first and most important question, and secondly, what plan might be apropos for the Hanover Family?

One element which Mr. Phelan omitted in his basic presupposition was that the Negro of today is seeking a sense of dignity -- a renewed faith in himself as a human being. The Negro has been stripped of his dignity, manhood, and self-respect. Without these a man becomes less than a man. The "Black Power" movement of today is but a means of reaffirming and re-establishing the Negro's love of self and sense of pride through slogans such as "Black is Beautiful."

To use Mr. Phelan's plan at Hanover would add insult to injury. Hanover is a pseudo-classy institution composed primarily of middle class students. As corridor chairman last year in Donner Hall, one of my sophomore girls of very modest means told me, in a private conversation, that she couldn't remain at Hanover because here she "couldn't look people in the eye." Because she didn't wear the newest Villager outfit or a Pi Phi pin, she felt less than a human being-a reject. This was a white girl, one of your own, who felt rejection and discrimination. How do you think my underprivileged brothers would feel under such circumstances? Those Negro youths from slums and broken homes, who already have an inferiority complex because society has stamped them as dirty, black and therefore ugly, inferior and stupid-how can they survive within Hanover's artificial atmosphere when a white cannot?

There are many financially able and academically qualified Negro students who could attend Hanover. However, to attract such students Hanover has to be something more than a "beautiful campus." To induce qualified students and keep them, Hanover might implement the following suggestions: 1) add courses oriented toward the black aspects of the American culture; eg: a course in Negro History, Negro Literature, or Contemporary African History, 2) Rid the campus of Greek organizations which have religious and/or racial clauses, agreements, etc. The existence of such societies is overt discrimination. Why should a student attend a school where he had a choice of one or two organizations when he could attend a school where he had an unrestricted choice, 4) give Hanover an injection called "life." The Negro youth have been more exposed to the rudiments of life than his white counterpart and to be shipped to a "security island" is a backward step for him.

These are my suggestions-if you have others, please give them.

Sarah Howard

Previous Triangle article . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Next Triangle article

Caroline Brunner (HC 2018) selected this article for Learning in Black and White, a study of African Americans at Hanover College from 1832 to 1980.
This is a faithful transcription of the text as it appears in the print version of the Triangle, available at the Hanover College Archives.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Hanover College Department of History
Hanover College Visitor's Page

Please send comments to: historians@hanover.edu