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"Hanover: Negros Are Here Really As Tokens... They 'Bring' Them Here: 14 Campus Blacks Discuss The College," Hanover College Triangle, 7 Apr. 1969, p. 6,7, 10.

Last week, the Hanover College Triangle had the opportunity to tape a discussion between the 13 black students at Hanover. The discussion, lasting 1 1/2 hours, centered around the (1) students, (2) faculty, (3) and Administration of the college. The discussion, moderated by a senior, Sarah Howard, was initiated at the request of the Triangle editors and was taped in the music listening room of the J. Graham Brown Campus Center. The Triangle had hoped to print the full text of the discussion, but because of space limitations, the text had to be edited. In the future, the remainder of the text will be published. Only two students, the Triangle Editor, Mike Palmisano, and Triangle Photography Editor, Mark Davis, listened in on the discussion with the thirteen students listed below. The students speaking will be referred to by a letter (A-M) rather than by name. The thirteen students participating were: Raymond Thomas, Clinton Davis, Willie Perkins, Jim Reed, Arlene Johnson, Lercy Jenkins, Rick Lyles, John Burlew, Hinnea Ghanim Cindy Stephens, Bertha Lewis, Dorothy Herring.

The discussion began on the topic of the faculty, then finished up with discussion on the areas of administration and the white student at Hanover. By taping the discussion and publishing comments as much in text, we have tried to preserve the spirit in which comments were made. This is the first part of a four - part series.----The Editor.


H: I think I have a good relationship with a lot of the professors. I'm not here for the social life. I can live without it. I don't have to justify my being a black student in this regard. Because I know, and the profs know, and the majors know who the best are.

N: I can agree with you on points about faculty being very good. My only complaint is that there is not a black person on the faculty. And I think, as a black, there should be a black person I can go to for advice in some regard. I need someone who will understand my field as a black person, and to tell me or to guide me, or to warn me about down falls, whereas a white person can tell me so much, I mean he's not a black, he can't fairly understand me or what I'm after or where I'm trying to go.

H: Well, we have different philosophies about life, because I don't want anyone to tell my what to do.

N: I don't mean to tell me exactly what to do. Someone who can understand me. A white person. . .there's a difference between relating between a black and a white person. A white can only see into a black so far. . .but a black to a black--there's an unwritten understanding. Does anyone see what I mean?

K: I think if you're talking about Hanover College per se, and my relationship to the faculty. . .I don't think--the faculty may be fantastic it may be marvelous, but this does not make up Hanover College, and this to me personally does not make up a college experience. The professor may sympathize with me for ever and ever, but this does not make up my college experience.

J: I don't have a relationship with the faculty actually. I go to classes and that is all. But, they don't have anything to say with me. .nothing that could help me with anything that I could do. . .not one little thing. If they want to tell me about a subject, that's fine.

K: If your talking about Hanover being a good Liberal College, well, you can't just tell me that there's not one black man in the whole country that's not qualified to teach here at Hanover College.

B: Horner has said, at the last coffee hour that he had received a call from a president at a black college in the south, wanting the white colleges to stop recruiting the black professors.

K: Well, actually my feelings are, personally, all black people should leave Hanover College, and no blacks should go here. My feeling is that Hanover should be totally white, this is my feeling. I don't think Hanover has anything to offer any black person in the entire country. If you're going to carry on the farce, I mean, do it right. I feel all blacks should leave, and no blacks should apply.

H: I disagree. I disagree. . .100%. You can always find some other place that is easier. You can always take the line of least resistance, but if you want to go to some place for knowledge for knowledge's sake, which is all right here, because I want to be the best in my field, and I want to relate with the people, the kind of people I am going to have to deal with. And, it's a fact that the white man controls everything, and you're never going to know how to beat him unless you understand him. And you're not going to understand him if you go to A M&M, or Grambling. If you want to look for someone to guide you. . .that's strong, that's fine. . .I'm strong enough to go to an institution where there's no black--I'll make it anyway. Don't say 100%. . .don't say everybody.

N: I agree with K that unless this school becomes integrated. .

INTERRUPTION: Desegregated!

N: Alright, desegregated to the point where there is total equality, and when I say equality, I mean freedom, the freedom to join and participate in any and everything. . .I'm not talking about phony greek societies. I'm talking about in your department. For example. When I say I want someone to talk to, I don't mean to tell me where to go, because I'm going to make my decision myself. . .IQ WANT A MAN WHO HAS MORE EXPERIEN grown-up above me who has been through where I'm going to go, who can tell me when to watch. .there may be a branch there, if you step a little you might not trip. For example I went to a certain professor, and I said, I wanted suggestions for the best graduate school to apply to. He says to me, I should go to Indiana University where you have an 'in" there. Well. IU is an ass of a school--pardon me--it has a rotten----------department. He says you can't get away from your blackness, why not go to an easy school, and that is a very poor thing to tell a student. So I called an advisor on another campus, I asked him to suggest some other schools, and he whipped off some of the biggest name schools, some of the best departments in the whole country. . .this is all I want. I don't want a man who will tell me what to do; Unless Hanover fixed itself up so that you've got black people in the departments, so you can go to them if you need them, black administrators people who understand the black psyche, the black child, then you're out--it's not service to you, it's doing nothing but killing you.

Any institution of higher education, be it totally white, can have a more significant meaning to a black person if it in truth says that even a white person here is able to do their thing. Hanover College the way it exists now, is not conductive to any black furthurance of any sort. . .You can name many white universities across the country that are better than Hanover College, some black universities I wouldn't want to go to because I'd be in the same rut as I am here, you see, it's not a question of black or white, it's a question of truth. . .an honest college experience. . .that's what we're talking about. You talk about dealing with people. The white man may rule everything, but the white man ain't everywhere. You don't deal with just white men.

H: Talking about college experience, how many people were at the faculty discussions the other night.

K: I had a choice, did you go.

H: Yes. If I'm going to knock an institution, I'm going to experience it. I'm not going to knock it without experiencing it.

N: I don't think that a faculty coffee hour is the total experience.

H: You don't even understand what went on and you're going to knock it right now.

B: Well, the reason I didn't go, was because I'm tired of these people always discussing, discussing, discussing.

K: . . .and not doing anything.

B: Discussion. Discussion. .

E: When I went to open house discussions my freshman year, and I heard a certain administrator, and you said over and over what you found disatisfactory, and he said yes, you're right, and he went back doing the same job doing the same thing, not making any kind of qualitative difference. I don't know what's the purpose of this kind of thing. I don't think you have to go to a faculty open house discussion to experience it. I think living here 24 hours a day I'm experiencing this place, unfortunately so most of the time, but I don't think you can go to a faculty open house and say I can't knock it if I haven't experiencing it, I think just being here at Hanover is experiencing it.

H: I think you've got to make do with what is here.

K: I don't think any black student should have to settle for second best. I don't think you have to "make do" here. I don't think a white student should have to do that.

E: It's like she said. . .it's just that truth is truth, and I think that when I've got a history book, and you read about this certain regiment that was supposed to take this hill, and went up the wrong hill, and you don't hear about it, mainly because he was prsident, and you know that a black regiment took that same hill. Well, a white student who doesn't know that is being denied the same kind of truth as far as I'm concerned. Or, that a black man discovered New Mexico or Arizona or started Chicago, when a white student doesn't know he's being denied the same thing that I am, I think that I am more so, but this school seems to perpetuate that kind of thing, and that's where you get second-best things. Second-best is not black or white it's just plain lack of knowledge that you get here--knowledge and truth, and the white students are being denied the same thing.

B: And the sad thing is, that a lot of the white students don't know that they are.

E: Like that farce Negro history week--heck, man, it ought to be Negro history year like we had in high school.

L: Did we have a Negro history week here?

D: Perspectives! (laughter)


D: Well, I think with students that it is a personal thing. Either you get along with people or you don't. Really it's the administration.

L: Well, I have a question that I'd like to throw out. Do any of you think that the administration is really sincere in wanting to improve things here for the Negroes?

K: No!

C: Personally me, since I have been here for two years, I have had several opportunities to talk to Dean Bonsett, and from what I can gather from our little interrogations, Hanover is here, ah, Negroes are here really as tokens, and they bring them here, and if you don't conform to the midwest, and here at Hanover. . .

D: At the corn curtain. . .

C: .  . .you just can't make it.

L: If you don't conform to their idea of a good nigger!

C: He brings things up that, if I'm not walking the line here at Hanover, he can't prove himself. If a Negro comes here, there's always a question down in his mind if you're doing alright. And he (Bonsett) asks why you aren't acting right. They think they're doing me a favor by letting me come here. This is the most injustice I've had in my life, cause I had scholarships from all the way across the country, I hadn't planned on coming here, but they kept calling my house, bothering my mother, and she said "oh, they're so nice, they want you so bad."

E: I would say that most of us had at least one or two other opportunities. . .scholarships. . .then you got these phone callings talking about what a fine college experience you would have here, and I can top whatever other scholarship offers you might have, and that's what you're told. And then you get here, and then you're told---maybe you'll have to work.

K: They might tell you they gonna pay for something, then one month you get a bill for it, like me.

E: I wonder if some of us could say here, that some of us are brought here on a farce. Because I asked, how many black students were here, were there other blacks, and I was told "Oh, we have black students--there's no problem." And so I said, tell me the truth, I'm not being any trailblazer, any pioneer, and they said, plenty of black students." Well, to me, this is out and out lying.

L: When you applied, would you like to know how many black students were here? Four (1,000 enrolled at that time).

E: Yeah, they said, "you will be in the minority, of course, because Hanover is predominantly white, but you will not have problem in that area Miss ----."

K: Something else is a kick up the butt. When you get here, and you done accepted a smaller amount of money that you could get anywhere else, and when you get here they take some of what you have away.

K: Well, we discussed something before about our relationship with the students, well, I can only talk for men personally, well I've been told that you don't fit in here, 'cause you're just not a lady, and you have a bad attitude, and you're too verbal--I think what it is, and I've experienced this over at (living units) I didn't fit in here with the rest of those students. As living a white middle class life--conservative, and I think the first thing that really hit me when I got here was the conservatism, and I think, then blattan racism began to come into the picture. And this is really what kind of shook me up. Even white, radical students here, like you say, the white radical elements, here, they have it bad, and Hanover says, I heard a professor say, Hanover says it wants to have the quote "white radical elements" but when your at a school and you don't provide for the radical element or for the black element, then that's just going to disappear, and your institution's going to fal apart, and not do what its supposed to do, so actually, I think the relationship here with students is not so good, because, actually the power in any institution is that when push comes to shove; the power lies ultimately with the students, and I think the majority of students at Hanover College perpetuate Hanover College, and they are Hanover College.

N: In talking about relationship with students, one thing that I find very discouraging, is that you're told when you're brought here, or you come here. . .

K: . . .no, you were right, brought!

N: You are told you are coming to a selective community of selected students, and you think of it as being highly selective, and you think certain things could be accomplished here that couldn't be accomplished elsewhere, for example, casting without regard to color lines in plays and this is in regard to husband and wife, and Romeo and Juliet, I don't mean the little clown and the nurse. If you cannot do it here, where can you do it. I think that here, faculty is too interested in own reputation and too interested in maintaining to this white thing that they aren't appealing to minds anymore.

B: The same thng is this business with the La Noue controversy. If the faculty wanted him here, he would be here, but they're just scared.

K: I t really kind of a jolt, well, when the Hanover College administration started to mess with me, charges were brought against me, and first i t threw me a jolt, because I couldn't realize that the Administration would just kick and pull with me and it seems like something could be done about it, and the ultimate power rests with the students. I think that the students perpetuate this system, and the faculty helps it. I think you'd gain something from staying here, but I think you lose something in the long run.

D: It seems like to come here you have to pay a price to be a part of the system. . .I mean, it seems every encounter I've had with the administration has been unpleasant. They get in here and trey to get me to fall in line and you know the first time is happened, I laughed, but the second time I realized the man was not kidding and it wasn't funny. They will pick you out of a bunch and say, "we're going to make an example out of you." It would be different if I had actually violated a college rule but the thing they have against you is your attitude. What has my attitude got to do with my studies And if you break a rule, they hold it over your head, and say, if you don't do such and such, we'll do such and such.

K: When I was called in for my case, my charges, and Dean Quilling told me, and Isat in that office and I faced her, and she said, "this is the only way I could get you in my office to talk to you about your pattern of behavior, I don't know what your purpose here at Hanover College is, what kind of a black subversive group you are in," and this is a quote, and I am not kidding you, and she said, "and whatever it is you came to Hanover College to accomplish, I just want to tell you that you will not succeed." And I sat there dumbfounded, like I wish I was in a big group. And it just made me feel so bad that I wasn't, and she said, "your attitude," And there was, "my attitude, and I just don't know how to talk to you, and your' too verbal, you see." And I just feel so dumb, not doing anything. And it makes you feel so bad that you can sit here, and they're able to tell you all this mess, and they are able to prosecute you for what--your attitude. And that shouldn't be--for anybody, and they've gone this for radical whites too.

?: Here's an example. They are trying to keep us separated. Now Bertha was told she was staying over at Donner too much--why? Because she wanted to stay with me. Now that was when they brought charges against Cynthia Because she was taking too many overnights at Donner Annex. My roommate didn't mind, so I'm going to be bad and walk up to the director and say, "I'm going to stay over at Donner. Know why she told me I couldn't? Health reason. (Laughter). I told them after Christmas that I just couldn't make it at the Donner Annex, cause they're 22 white girls there, I mean give me a closet by myself, No! Move me out. No! Give me a campus residence. I didn't want to bring any trouble--I wanted to be nice.

B: It is because we want the whites to have a full colllege experience.

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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.

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