interview was transcribed as part of the Civil Rights Documentation
Funding for this
project was provided in part by the Mississippi
the National Endowment for the Humanities, and
Department of Archives and History.
Dr. James C. Coleman was born
and reared in Jackson, Mississippi. His parents are Reverend
Louis Coleman and Elmer Broom Coleman, who are still in Jackson.
He is the third oldest of four children, Joe, Katie, and Bonita.
Dr. Coleman was educated in
the Jackson Public School District where he was graduated
in the top of his class at Lanier High School. He also is
a member of the Board and starred in basketball and football
under the tutelage of L.T. Smith. He holds a B.S. degree from
Tougaloo College where he was a three sports star, the Master's
degree from Tennessee State University, and the doctorate
of higher education from the University of Mississippi. He
was also a member of the professional basketball team, the
Harlem Magicians. He has served in many capacities in Higher
Education: Acting Academic Dean, Dean of Division of Education,
Athletics Director at Tougaloo and Mississippi Valley State,
Coach of six different sports, Dean of Faculty, Chair of National
Committee in the NAIA and NCAA, volunteer in the Jackson Public
School District. He is the first African-American to integrate
housing at Memphis State University, summer of 1965, first
to integrate family housing at Ole Miss in 1967, first assistant
basketball coach at Ole Miss in 1975. He is a member of Omega
Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Anderson United Methodist Church
in Jackson, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, NAACP, and numerous
other organizations. Dr. Coleman is married to Dr. Marilyn
Houston Coleman; he is the father of James, II; Tashana; Jon;
Sara; and Jessica. Dr. Coleman is currently serving as Acting
Dean of the Division of Education (1999-2000) and Professor
of HPER at Tougaloo College where he is entering his forty-second
Attending Tougaloo College 2
Working at Tougaloo College,
University of Tennessee, 1965
Integrating the dormitories
at Memphis State University 3
Working at Tougaloo, 1965 4
Integrating married student
housing at Ole Miss, 1967 5
The Tougaloo Nine 7
Hollis Watkins 9
Social Science forum 9
Millsaps' Dr. Charles Sallis
Meredith March 11
SCLC, SNCC, CORE 11
Tougaloo President George Owens
Tougaloo's milieu in the sixties
Dr. Daniel Beittel 17
Freedom Summer, 1964 18
Choctaw Indians 27
AN ORAL HISTORY
This is an interview for
the Civil Rights Documentation Project. The interview is with
Dr. James C. Coleman and is taking place on April 12, 2000.
The interviewer is Harriet Tanzman.
I'm talking with Dean Coleman, James Coleman at Tougaloo College
on April 12, year 2000. Thank you for being with us, Dean
wonder if you could tell us a little bit about when you were
born and where, and your parents' background?
Gladly. I'm a native Mississippian. I was born and reared
in Jackson, Mississippi. My parents are still living. My dad's
eighty-six; be eighty-seven this year. My mom's eighty-four.
I come from a family of five. At that particular time, I was
the youngest. I matriculated through the Jackson public school
system which was segregated at that particular time. I finished
high school at Lanier in 1958, but I never had that sense
of being underprepared or being culturally deprived in any
way, academically, because Tougaloo had its mark on my high
school and the high school curriculum. The principal, I.S.
Sanders was a Tougaloo graduate who finished in 1919, somewhere
around that year, and the majority of his faculty with the
core curriculum were Tougaloo graduates in the liberal arts,
so we had, pretty much, Tougaloo's stamp of college prep courses.
And I graduated eighteen out of 167 in my class. My intention
was to go to college in pre-medicine, and go into the medical
field. I was involved in many high school activities, including
athletics. I was in the band.
understand you were a star in athletics. Am I right?
I was. I did a pretty good job. We won. In basketball and
football, we won two state championships in basketball out
of three years I played. And I received all state honors,
and it was due to basketball that I got athletic scholarships.
I was privileged to have been one of the few in the state
of Mississippi to receive a four-year athletic scholarship
at a major university. Creighton University offered me four
years, and the University of Nebraska, in the summer of 1958.
But having a sister, my oldest sister being a student here
at Tougaloo, my parents were sold on Tougaloo. They couldn't
afford it, but they wanted us to have the best. My parents
didn't have a formal education. My mom dropped out of school
and worked with a big family when she was in the fifth grade,
and my dad did get to the tenth grade in high school at Saints
in Lexington and to boarding school. But my dad was a truck
driver and Mom worked at a cleaners, pressing clothes. So,
she made about $12.50 a week. My dad made somewhere about
$30. And we had a household to keep up, utilities. And it
was really almost impossible to afford our going to Tougaloo,
but my dad kind of ruled with a pretty strong leverage, and
the coach came by one day and told my dad he wanted me to
come to Tougaloo. And my dad said, "Well, you know, I love
Tougaloo. When do you want him to be there?" And I was living
in Omaha at that time. And so, my dad called me and said,
"Look." Said, "You come on back [home]. Forget about going
up there to go to school." So, I came back home. And [the
rest is history].
was a struggle in terms of the pay?
Yeah. At that time it cost $125 per semester for tuition for
a day student. A commuting student you would call them today.
Two-fifty a year and about $35 for general fees. And with
two of us in school. So, Tougaloo didn't give, at that time,
full athletic scholarships. I had a partial. So, my parents
had to come up with the remainder. Of course, I did work while
I was in school to help to defray some of my expenses, and
it worked out real well. Consequently, I finished Tougaloo
in three years.
finished in sixty-one?
finished in sixty-one. The summer of sixty-one, and immediately
I applied for graduate school, and my graduate school finances
were provided by the state of Mississippi. The state of Mississippi
would pay for you to go to any institution in the world to
keep you out of the majority universities in the state of
white universities. I'm being real nice. (Laughter.) Yeah.
And, then, you know. (Laughter.)
you went to Tennessee?
I went to Tennessee [State University], and got my [master's
did you study in undergraduate?
studied health, phys-ed, and counseling. And I came back to
Tougaloo and started working in sixty-two. My first paycheck
here at Tougaloo, I was on a nine-month contract, and I made
$250 a month here at Tougaloo in 1962. That was my salary.
was as a coach?
was an instructor. I was assistant coach in three sports.
And I was Dean of Men. I was really what they call today,
was a resident counselor. All the males lived in one dormitory,
and I was responsible for their livelihood in terms of their
living. And so that was quite an experience. I see now the
chairman of our board of trustees Reuben Anderson was one
of the residents there. I can go on and name very prominent
people who lived in the dormitory during the time of my supervision.
Of course, we were in school together, but, like I said, I
finished a year early, and I put that year into graduate school
and came back the next year and started working in [teaching
and] coaching. So, that was quite an experience.
bet it was. You were here those two years, sixty-two, sixty-four,
during that time?
I was here year sixty-four, and I took a leave of absence
from Tougaloo. And I got married and went to the Delta. My
wife, then, was from the Delta of Mississippi, and her dad
was a big farmer. And I went up [there to work and learn about
how to farm]. And I was assistant principal and football coach,
basketball coach, counselor, teacher. You name it, that was
Rosedale at West Bolivar. West Bolivar in Rosedale, in Bolivar
County. And that summer of sixty-five, I decided to start
working on my doctorate. So, I applied to the University of
Tennessee, and I was accepted. And they had an extension in
Memphis at Memphis State University in sixty-five. So, what
happened is that I went to Memphis and didn't have a place
to stay, so I applied for a dormitory room, and they told
me at that time, they didn't have any. But they had not changed
their policy of desegregating the dorms, so I checked in [at
the Lorraine Hotel] with very limited [funds].
did not desegregate the dorms?
Yeah. And so, what happened is I checked in at the Lorraine
Motel, and I spent three nights at my own expense until the
board decided they would change their policy and integrate
the dormitories. So, I integrated the dormitory at Memphis
State in 1965. And what they did, they had very few air-conditioned
dormitories on the campus, and the most modern dormitory on
the campus was Robertson Hall which was the athletic dormitory.
So, having been a coach and being in athletics, they placed
me over in the athletic dorm, which was fine with me. Very
convenient. It was luxury at its best. And so, I stayed there,
and I got a telephone call from Dr. George Owens, in that
summer, when I was up in Memphis. And [he offered me a job
to come back to Tougaloo].
Summer of sixty-five. And I had received a job offer at Philander
Smith in Little Rock, [Arkansas,] as athletic director, head
basketball coach, and head of the department in phys-ed. So,
I had gone over and interviewed for the job, and I was going
to accept that job. I received a call from Dr. Owens, saying
that the position at Tougaloo was open as athletic director
and chair of the Department of Health and Phys-Ed. And, would
I come back? Well, Tougaloo being my first love--. One of
my teammates and classmates here at Tougaloo, Jerry [H.] Lewis--not
the comedian Jerry Lewis, but he is a comedian, too. He said,
"I'm going to leave the post office, and I'm going back to
Tougaloo, and I'm going to coach the basketball team." [He]
said, "Come on back with me, and let's build the athletic
program [back] up." To me, that was [an exciting] call, and
I abandoned the idea [to go to Philander Smith]. I called
the president at Philander Smith in Little Rock, and told
him that Tougaloo had called for me to come back home. And
he understood it. And I apologized for having to renege on
my agreement with him, but he understood it. And so, I came
back to Tougaloo and resumed my job here in teaching and coaching.
And we built, I thought, Jerry and I over the last twenty-some
years, an outstanding athletic program that went along with
academics. We can proudly say that during our matriculation
and tenure as coaches, 95 percent of our student athletes
graduated. So, I graduated--.
That's a tremendous record.
We can point with pride [to] the young men and women who came
and played for us and who are now successful in life that
it points back to Tougaloo because it was our philosophy that
was instilled in us by our coaches here at Tougaloo. And so,
[we carried on the tradition].
carried it on?
carried it on. That's a legacy that we'll always be proud
of is our graduation rate here at Tougaloo, but it was during
that time that my first wife had enrolled in the graduate
program, the extension program, [Ole Miss] at Millsaps. Millsaps
had an extension of Ole Miss graduate program there, and she
took twelve hours. She could only take twelve hours, and the
last twelve hours had to be taken on campus. And so, we were
about [to move to Oxford to the main campus].
Oxford. Yeah. And I said, "Well, it would be much easier for
me to transfer from the University of Tennessee over to Oxford,
and it would be less expensive for us to do that. And of course,
I applied and transferred my credits over. And we had a son
who was, at that time, about two years old. Two and a half
was in 1967?
sixty-seven. Yeah. And, what we did: I applied for housing,
the married housing. And they wrote me back and told me that
they didn't have any apartments available. So, we went down
to [a mobile home lot] on Highway 80, and made an agreement
to buy a mobile home, and of course, we had gone up to Oxford
and found a spot of land that we were going to rent to place
the mobile home on that property. And of course, the day before
we signed the deal, I received a call from the housing department
at Ole Miss, and they told me that they had an apartment for
us. And this was 1967, the summer of sixty-seven. So, when
we got to Ole Miss, we were really excited about it.
was a university-owned apartment?
[was the university housing complex for married families].
Yeah. So, when we got to the university, we pulled up. I had
this long trailer attached to a vehicle, and went inside to
get the keys and sign the housing agreement, and I extended
my hand, being a person who has never met a stranger and being
in athletics and an outgoing guy. The director of housing
refused to shake my hand. He just pointed and said, "Sit down
the old tradition. So, we talked, and I thanked him. And he
gave us the apartment keys, and directions to get to the apartment.
When we pulled up into the parking lot, I mean, you'd be surprised.
People came out from everywhere to see us. They wanted to
see the type of furniture that we used. It was really amazing.
were the first black people?
were the first black family to live in the Village. That's
what it's called at Ole Miss. In the summer of sixty-seven
and sixty-eight. And they would come over. There were a lot
of people from the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky, and
they were really in earnest because they had never been around
blacks. They didn't know. They were curious about [us]. I
would cook out, and they would come stand around to see.
see what you were eating?
we were eating. They would come over.
you were eating real food. (Laughter.)
Real food. You know. And until this day, I have some lifelong
friends that I made at Ole Miss, and we got to the point where
we would [babysit for each other's children]. I was the first
black to play on the golf course owned by the university and
had guys from Kentucky and Missouri. We were all neighbors.
And they said, "Let's go and play golf." And then we did so
many things together, and it was really true bonding. I have
always said, and I still hold to this belief that--and in
a lot of Southerners--that once you can convince a Southerner,
you know where he stands. And once you convince [him what
is right]--and I've seen this; I've experienced it--you've
got a true, loyal person. And I've had that to happen to me
throughout my life. And they would keep my kid; we would keep
their kids. And they would go out to dinner and those different
kinds of things. And it was just a beautiful exchange. So,
my experiences, even though in most of my classes, I was the
only black in my classes, I had a [lot of dialogues and exchanging
were studying education?
education. Yes. And so what happened is: my experience, my
major advisor and the chair of the department was a Southerner.
He was born in Savannah, Georgia; reared in that area; graduate
of Citadel; and a retired Army colonel. His wife would write
the Pope quite often. She was always a subject of the daily
newspaper there on campus about some of the antics that she
would pull. I mean, she was very controversial, and he was
strictly conservative. And he was the type of guy that was
real militaristic in the classroom. And so, that [was quite
a challenge in the classroom].
Yeah. He was like that. Intimidating, could be. But the good
thing that happened: one of the experiences here at Tougaloo,
I was exposed to an international faculty here at Tougaloo.
So, therefore, I was not in awe of nonblack people.
People came from different countries here?
all over the world and different countries. You know. Ernst
Borinski. I could just go on and on with the different nationalities
that I was exposed to. Ronald Schnell. The people that I was
exposed to here at Tougaloo gave me that confidence that I
could interact with people from all over the world, so, it
was no big deal for me at Ole Miss to be in a class with all
whites. And I never felt, like I said earlier, that I wasn't
prepared because I was. I never felt deprived academically
because Tougaloo afforded us a liberal arts education.
And I remember there were times that I would create a dialogue
in the class of discussion. And he would say--. And I said,
"Well, let me tell you this."
"No. You don't tell me. I tell
you." That kind of attitude. And, interesting. My classmates
were basically all white males, and we'd have a break, and
they would talk. We would talk. Basically they'd want to talk
about sports. I guess they figured that all blacks could do
was dialogue about sports and not current events.
would be the subject you know?
Subject that I know. And what would happen is I would see
them outside of class, and they would be with their white
friends, and they'd be in front of the [student] union because
the union at that time housed the post office and bookstore
and all those [amenities], and they would see me coming, and
they would turn their backs. You know, just like an ostrich
with his head in the sand, that you couldn't see him. And
I would walk right up into the group and start talking. You
know. But I had that kind of outgoing personality, but it
was still some closed societies at that time. But I like to
feel that I had a lot to offer during that time.
had a lot of confidence in your own mind and your abilities.
I had a lot of confidence. Yeah. And then my wife, at times,
she was treated like a desk in her class. There were times
she was the only black in her classes, and so, we brought
the issue up to the dean of the School of Education about
her particular situation, and of course, they really did.
They had other complaints, and they did release that particular
professor in reading. But it was quite an experience, and
I'm still very fond of the university. I had some great experiences
Dean Coleman, I wonder if we can get back to Tougaloo and
come back a decade, because, I know you started there in the
late fifties, and there was a lot happening, both in the state,
in Jackson, and the students' involvement. And I know that
started early with Medgar Evers and students that were getting
involved in the Tougaloo community. Now when you were an undergraduate,
and then when you came back, you were beginning to tell me
as an undergraduate, what was going on in the community that
the students were becoming involved in in the late fifties,
early sixties? The atmosphere?
the atmosphere was changing. One thing, I can truthfully say
that the uniqueness of Tougaloo that really stands out is
that Tougaloo promotes the idea [that] students be self-directed
[learners]. And that students be outspoken on issues, how
they feel both philosophically and politically. And that's
the nature of Tougaloo's philosophy. And it was my classmates
and schoolmates, the Tougaloo Nine, that took it upon themselves.
Now, Medgar was out here quite often. I knew Medgar when I
was in high school because Medgar and his [wife] Myrlie would
attend all of the high school games at Lanier, and I knew
him personally. And of course we had the NAACP chapter here
on campus, and he was here quite often, here on campus because
Tougaloo was a rallying point, and Tougaloo was a spot where
strategies and meetings and everything else took place here
on the campus before they were implemented off the campus.
was the end of the fifties?
was the end of the fifties. And when the Tougaloo Nine went
down with the exception of Ike Lassiter[?]. Ike was from--.
Albert was from Vicksburg. We had most of the students were
out of staters. Most were out of staters, and that took a
courageous effort for them to go down. Having been reared
in the Jackson area, knowing how law enforcement treated blacks,
and knowing the viciousness and the hate and the brutality
that took place with the police department and city officials,
I mean, I still sort of shiver when I think of the fact that
these nine kids put their lives on the line at a sit-in at
the library. And of course after that, then it was the sit-ins
and voter registration, and I got a chance to see all of it,
firsthand here at Tougaloo.
know there were many students here at that time.
of whom were involved, and some weren't. Were you involved
as an undergraduate at all, or were you an observer?
was basically an observer, and I was one of those, and I wouldn't
be afraid and ashamed to say it, I was one of those observers,
they had--. Maybe I'll put it this way, in hindsight: I was
one of those who was really supportive on campus, and I was
probably afraid because of the financial situation of my parents
and the possibility of them losing their jobs. And they had
common labor jobs, and I knew there was a struggle just for
us to be here at Tougaloo, economically and financially. And
of course, it was not until I became a professional working,
and then, that's when I was able to really make my decision
and not worry about my parents losing their jobs. And of course,
I started supporting then in the movement and the marches
and those kinds of things.
some of it was the possibility of economic reprisal?
was solely economic reprisal that I chose not to participate.
came back here in sixty-two as a teacher?
back in sixty-two as a teacher and a coach. Yeah.
know there was a lot of things going on sixty-two to sixty-four,
and onward, partly here at Tougaloo. People coming in from
different organizations and just getting very involved in
the community. Partly more intensified with the boycotts and
everything. Could you tell me a little about that era and
the average student? You know, what the student on the campus
was quite a new experience for students coming from remote,
rural areas. And I can think. I have flashbacks of students
that came here from remote areas in Mississippi, and they
got involved. And it was students that you had no idea would
have the courage to leave and go, and lead voter registration
drives. I'm thinking of one particular young man who ran track
was his name?
Watkins. And he would tell you, and every time he sees me--.
I nicknamed Hollis, "Freedom." He ran track for me. He was
a distance runner, and Hollis--. I think of Hollis. I think
about the times he would leave, and Medgar, and [others] would
call on him. He was always there, traveling all over the country.
And I think of Joyce Ladner. I think of Joan Trumpauer who
was white, and she came down, and she and Joyce were so close.
And Dora, Joyce's sister--.
Yeah. And I can think of people that really would leave in
the middle of the night and go to the Delta regions and remote
regions of the state and lead voter registration drives and
then, Ed King was quite involved. Ed and Dick Johnson, John
Saulter. We had a lot of faculty [members involved in the
civil rights movement].
had a lot of faculty?
We had a lot of faculty support here on campus with the movement.
I can remember the time when Stokely Carmichael, as he was
called then, and H. Rap Brown, and Julian Bond, and John Lewis,
and the Student Nonviolent [Coordinating Committee] SNCC,
they would make it to the campus. Any of those political activists
could make it to the gates of the campus, they felt secure.
was a safe place?
was a safe haven for them. And it was at that particular time
an oasis in Mississippi where the only place where a mixed
audience could get together and congregate in fellowship and
strategize and make plans and have forums. Dr. Borinski was
really instrumental in bringing international renowned people
to the campus to speak to social science forums. Here you've
got Stokely one night. You might have Ralph Bunch the U.N.
secretary. Then, you've got Robert Kennedy coming. And it
goes on and on, the list. So, it was so much exposure to us.
you go to these forums?
yeah. I made all of them.
were inter-racial forums in social science?
yeah. And I tell you, we didn't have [a security force]. We
had a one-man security force. He was a mill-worker by day,
and he would come on in the evening time just to break of
dawn, and he would walk around. Had a cane. He reminds me
of Barney Fife in a sense, where he had a pistol on his side
with his holster, and he wasn't a good, accurate shooter.
And he would go to sleep around 10:30 because of having worked
in the sawmill. And of course, I can remember [when we would
take his revolver when he went to sleep around 10:30 p.m.
Between 12 and 1 a.m., I would get a knock on my door, Room
29 in Galloway saying, "Dead ass, where is my gun?"]
was the security person?
was our security person.
I mean, we all knew where he would be.
(Laughter.) Sleeping away.
of course, I can remember when the president deputized parts
of the faculty and students, President Owen did, where we
had to watch the campus at night. We were walking right around
the campus at night.
years was this?
was in the--. I'd say around sixty-five, sixty-six, sixty-seven.
Somewhere around in there. And we had several crosses burned
on the campus, one in front of the president's home. You almost
had a twenty-four hour watch of law enforcement at the gate,
watching cars come on and off. And when we would have forums,
they would take down license plate numbers of the whites who
came on campus. Well, Tougaloo at that time had a real good
relationship with Millsaps, with Charles Sallis at Millsaps.
was in the early sixties?
it's always been in the fifties and the sixties. Yeah. That
they would come to the campus and fellowship and see these
speakers because they really weren't privy to see a lot and
hear a lot of these people. But coming back to Stokely and
that group, I would open the basement of [Judson Cross Hall
dorm for men].
were in charge of the halls?
was in charge of the building. Yeah. I was the Dean of Men.
They no longer have that [title]; they have the resident counselors.
They put it that way. And I would let the people sleep down
there because they had no other places to sleep. And so, they
would make it to the campus. I never shall forget the Meredith
March in which we had, I really estimate somewhere in the
neighborhood of about 30,000 or 40,000 people here on campus.
When we had the big concert, Sammy Davis had a helicopter
to fly in and land out on the football field. That's the spot
where the Health and Wellness building is now. James Brown
[came in] on a jet. He brought his band down, and Martin Luther
King and Dick Gregory. Where the Alumni House is now was the
academic dean's home, A.A. Branch. That's where he and his
wife, Rose Branch, lived, and that was the house where all
of the heads of their organizations, political organizations,
would meet and map out the strategy for the upcoming marches.
And you had Marlon Brando.
was in sixty-six. June, 1966.
Yeah, you had Marlon Brando. You had Burt Lancaster, Rafer
Johnson[?], Tony Francisco. You had a lot of your Hollywood
entertainers came and marched shoulder to shoulder with Dr.
King and all of the group.
was the response of the students on the campus?
Bewildered. In awe. It was so many people here on the campus
that the students, just [got wrapped up in the excitement].
It was mind-boggling. I can remember being over [Brownlee
Hall], supervising the gymnasium, and what I did, I opened
up the restroom facilities for them where they could shower.
And of course we had campus RVs. We had [all types of campers];
you name it. People sleeping out in the cars. You had groups
meeting. Farmer would have his group in one section of the
campus. Stokely would have his group in one area. So, they
were all over. It was almost like there was a fight for leadership,
but they all [came together under Dr. King's leadership].
mean different organizations?
each have their own separate strategy sessions?
their own strategy sessions. Yeah. But one thing they did--.
And it was Dick Gregory who was really responsible for really
pulling all the groups together. I never shall forget that.
It was at one time, a couple of groups wanted to split off
and go on and do their own thing, but eventually it was Dick
Gregory and Sammy Davis was in that group, too. That they
decided that we'll go in en masse, and that we'll all go together,
and that was unity at its best.
they pulled the group together?
pulled the group together. I give that credit more so to Dick
Gregory. It was something to just walk around and see all
of these people who were willing to put their lives on the
line. And that march looked like forever. We started out here
from the campus. Now, I wasn't a nonviolent person. I never
shall forget that. I had a little pearl-handled twenty-two
that I kept in my back pocket, and I had me a long rod that
I carried with me and a towel wrapped around my neck, and
my shorts, and when we made that trip from down State Street,
across Northside Drive, down to Bailey Avenue and on down
to the state capitol, and when we got to the state capitol,
you had all the state troopers in the state of Mississippi
surrounding the capitol, all the way around. And we anticipated,
and there were people lined along the way, the route which
we took, gaining support and gathering just like a wild fire.
People joining us in going down there.
just townspeople came and joined on?
Townspeople just joined. Yeah. And then you had, on the front
row, you had your Hollywood entertainers on the front row
with Dr. King and all of that crew. And it was a force. It
was a force to be reckoned with.
I'll tell you, there was another group that always stood around
and stood out. The Deacons of Defense from down in Bogalusa,
That was an interesting group.
They protected the march.
yeah. Yeah. They were a force to be reckoned with. But the
students were very supportive. I got a chance to meet Dr.
King one on one, in the early sixties, and he spent a lot
of time here at Tougaloo. Like I said, Tougaloo was an oasis,
and Tougaloo was a place where, you know, once you saw them
and they would come to classes and discuss their strategies
in classes and, you know, you'd say, "Hey. We're a part of
this." And that's how we felt about it. But it was still that
uniqueness of Tougaloo, that self-directed learners making
the choices. And Tougaloo prepared our students for leadership
Now in the era, backtracking a bit to sixty-four and sixty-three
around Tougaloo, I know that some of the students became SNCC
organizers. Or they became full-time and left or work-study
and so on, but you were a student from fifty-eight to sixty-one,
and you had financial considerations and other considerations.
What I'm wondering about is, for the average student, living
through this era with so much activity and with so much involvement
of students with Medgar in Jackson and around the state, were
you involved during that time or were you also very involved
with the sports and other things on the campus?
was very involved with sports. [Sports] was a way, a means
to an end for me. That was how I eventually [finished school];
Tougaloo awarded me a full scholarship. An athletic grant,
I'll put it that way. And I was able to work on campus to
supplement my income for my living expenses. Very limited
jobs during that period on the campus and very limited off-campus
jobs for students during that time. And so, really [Tougaloo
was my life].
was a financial struggle for many people.
was a financial struggle for many people, and it was a financial
struggle for the college because they had threatened our charter.
the sixties. Yeah. The state. Matter of fact, Brad Dye, former
lieutenant governor, was one of the proponents of trying to
take away our charter. It was during that period where Tougaloo
had to go through a name change. It was originally founded
as Tougaloo University. Then it became Tougaloo College. And
of course Tougaloo alumni merged with Southern Christian Institute
[alumni] down in Edwards. They call it Mount Beulah.
So, those two merged, and it became Tougaloo Southern Christian
College. But somewhere in the early sixties, there was a federal
deal that they were dealing with separation of church and
state, and that if it had a religious connotation to it, they
were trying to withhold federal funds from going to institutions
with religious affiliations, and those kinds of things. So,
Tougaloo felt that federal funds was really their main bloodline
of the college. So, Tougaloo went back and changed it's charter
back to Tougaloo College. Back to Tougaloo College because
Tougaloo felt that there was the threat of losing federal
was it felt that that was happening because people were involved
in movement? Or this was just happening?
was just happening. Yeah. It was just happening. It was just
happening because you could see a school like Texas Christian
University. All schools with religious names. And so, it changed
back to that, but we were struggling during that time, and
I think about the college having to bail students out of jail
and President Owens was put in there as an interim, and eventually
made president. And here is a black man, in the state of Mississippi,
a native Mississippian, born and reared and educated at Tougaloo,
in Jackson, and going to Rankin County where they, at that
time, during that period, a lot of our kids wore long hair.
And they would shave their heads when they put them in jail.
And that was a form of hazing and harassment. And especially,
it was a known thing, if you went to Madison County or if
you went to Rankin County Jail, you were going to be abused
and beaten as a prisoner.
Very dangerous places.
was dangerous. Extremely dangerous, and I can see, right now,
when President Owens would drive over and get those students
out of jail in Brandon, Rankin County, Mississippi. It's unbelievable.
It's incomprehensible to even think about it; that he did
it. He went down to Jackson City Jail to bail these kids out,
and a lot of times the college would put up the bail to get
the kids out.
get the kids out?
I mean, that in itself speaks for Tougaloo's commitment to
its students and its community.
about the students in the sixties, sixty-two, sixty-three,
when the mass demonstrations were going on, when there was
a lot happening in downtown Jackson, when Medgar was still
alive, with the students. And also the summer of sixty-four.
What about the average student here in terms of some of the
ones who maybe were not so involved? And the faculty that
was not so involved?
let me tell you. During that period, if my memory serves me
correctly, during those periods we had some high-profile students.
I think of Constance Slaughter Harvey. Constance was the first
female Student Government Association president at Tougaloo,
and she was extremely politically active.
year was that?
was in the early sixties.
of the sixties?
it was right in the middle of the sixties when Constance and--
Bennie Thompson, [Wayne]. We had people, say in the middle
of the sixties, middle on up. I forget my years, sometimes.
I know they were very active. Bennie was very active. Bennie
was captain of my baseball team. I was coaching then, and
Bennie was the captain of my baseball team. Bennie has always
been a leader. And of course, that was during the period of
time where our kids were really, extremely politically active.
We had a political action committee on campus, made up of
students. So, they were always involved in challenging the
administration, and challenging the system, but that was something
that was instilled in them when they first got here, and of
course, it carried on, and I look at them, and I [am delighted,
having watched them develop into productive citizens].
demands on Tougaloo, itself.
Yeah. Demands. That's true.
well, to go out and make a difference. Yeah. To be global
and go out and make a difference and then to humanity and
itself that helping and providing services. We've always had
outreach programs and community outreach programs here on
the campus where our students gave back to the community,
and worked in the community and they became involved so we're
part of the system of helping people. And so, that was instilled.
that period that there was very intense involvement--I know
that continued, but, you know, sixty-three, sixty-four, sixty-two,
when kids were very involved in the community, but there was,
you were saying the violence, the cross burning, you know,
a lot of that happening--were you involved during that time?
Or, how were you involved during that time?
Like I said, I became politically involved once I became a
full-time faculty, coach here, then I had financial independence.
OK? And so, therefore, I could speak out. I wasn't the kind
that was down in front of Woolworth's and those kinds of places.
The little bit that I made, I would help and make contributions
to the cause, financial contributions to the cause.
help financially [the] NAACP Youth Council?
The NAACP. Yeah. And of course, like I said, there were other
things that I was able to do, like help with housing, and
whatever some of the needs were of some of our students. The
faculty was always supportive and there to help them in their
a lot of the students afraid during that period of what was
going to happen to them?
not so much of what was going to happen to them, but what
was going to happen to their parents. Loss of jobs. We had
even more difficulty when we tried to place our students [in
schools to do student teaching]. Those who were going into
teacher education. Placing them into schools where they could
do their student teaching. Placing them where they could get
full employment because some of the school districts would
not hire Tougaloo students for fear of those students bringing
their political views to the district and disrupting the system.
was white-listed, instead of black-listed.
And, so, therefore, they didn't want Tougaloo students because
they felt that they respected Tougaloo students as being intelligent
and [politically active], but they felt that they were infiltrated
and they were Communist-inspired. Uh-huh. Because there was
a perception in the state of Mississippi that Dr. Borinski
and [others], of course, through propaganda, they would say
that he was a member of the Communist organization, and he
came and taught us all of these ideas. And to go against the
sovereign state of Mississippi, and of course, having an international
faculty, and the faculty was supportive of the students, and
they felt that the president should be able to control the
student body and the faculty. And which [at] Tougaloo, that
has never happened because we've had freedom of expression.
And that was always respected, and I can remember during the
early period of Dr. Owens' administration, he believed in,
even in debates, you come out with consensus. Even in decision-making,
consensus. Dialogue: influence me to your thinking or I'll
influence you to my thinking. We need to come out on a [common
(End of tape one, side one.
The interview continues on tape one, side two.)
supported the movement. I can remember during those early
years, those lean years, when it was difficult for Tougaloo
to meet its payroll. And because of the cutbacks, Tougaloo,
during the early years, the latter part of the fifties and
early sixties, didn't receive that much local support from
businesses. It was pretty much nothing coming from local business
people because they didn't want to be [identified as helping
that because they saw Tougaloo as a hotbed of activity?
was a hotbed of activities, and it was disrupting the sovereign
way of life in Mississippi. The old way. The old guard, and
they felt that that would have been an economical pressure
on them, even being associated [and] having donated [to the
college]. You know. To donate to Tougaloo if you had a local
business, and it would be known, then that means you condone
what they're doing. Then you're trying to change the standards
and you're trying to change the customs and tradition of Mississippi.
So, [the] support [was not there for Tougaloo].
was tough. It was real tough. It was real tough. I oftentimes
think of Robert Wilder[?] who was the chair of our board.
Robert Wilder was an Easterner from Pennsylvania.
was this? When was he chair?
was chair in the fifties and in the sixties. He's chairman
emeritus, now. The mansion next door is named after Robert
Wilder, and to show you how fate has made its turn, his son
Robert Jr. is on our board. And it was Robert Wilder who would
send money down when the college couldn't meet its payroll.
And then we had the church, of course, Disciples of Christ.
During that period, Disciples of Christ were very instrumental
in supporting us financially. The American Missionary Association
supported us financially [as well as the United Board of Christian
did the pressure come from? I know that Dr. Beittel, the former
president, was basically forced out. Where did that pressure
That pressure pretty much came from the board. Dr. Beittel,
being in the position of president, you've got to be a fundraiser.
If you're in a private institution, you've got to be able
to go out and get money. And I remembered doing my research
for my dissertation, at Amistad Research Center when it was
on Dillard's campus in New Orleans, back in the mid-seventies,
I read a lot about private colleges. Black private colleges,
and Fred Brownlee was the general secretary of the American
Missionary Association of the board, and Fred called all the
shots out of New York, and I would read where Beittel was
president of Talladega and some of the similar problems that
he had over there.
terms of raising money?
money. Yeah. Yeah. And he was a very good man, but he was
not the kind of person that really fitted into [Tougaloo's
community]. Having had that experience at Talladega, which
is a sister school of Tougaloo, you would have thought that
he would have learned something, and of course, Dr. Owens
was business manager over there, working at Talladega, and
I read all about what had taken place [during Beittel's tenure
through] their minutes, the board reports went to Fred Brownlee,
and of course all of that is found at Amistad. And so, he
wasn't a person who went out into the community. He wasn't
accepted into the community, even in the white community.
And it wasn't until George Owens got in there and George knew
that they knew that George was a Mississippian and Dr. Owens
was a good person. He had established himself, and even in
the good-old-boy network in the white community, they recognized
him as a man of integrity. And I think that was the reason
why we got a lot of things done. Matter of fact, I know so,
because of his character and because of who he was that we
had a lot of support, and he garnered the white support.
he was the person that really started garnering the white
support locally, and local business people and all of that.
And so, they felt comfortable with him because he was a Mississippian.
see. That was a big difference.
Yeah. Yeah. A big difference. Yes.
those students that were here, like, summer of sixty-four
when I guess Free Southern Theater came here, and there were
SNCC workers on campus and CORE workers on campus, and people.
Could you describe the atmosphere a little bit of that summer
to the students? I know you were still here. (Laughter.)
It was a free spirited affair. I think that was the turn and
the beginning of different styles of dress. Different--the
dungarees. The beads. There was sort of an [anything-goes
approach]. I would look at it and coin it as, maybe, the hippie
movement was beginning because a lot of our kids came from
rural backgrounds and here's a free spiriter. And then you
had a lot of--now how should I coin this? It was free spirited.
Free spirited can entail a lot of things. OK?
Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of our kids experienced, and they moved
in that direction. You know. They moved in that direction
from their rural and humble upbringing to new habits of what
they wanted to do, and styles of dress, and you know, all
of that. It was sort of a [new lifestyle]. It wasn't a revolution,
but it was a change, and a crossing-over into something that's
The mores. Yeah. You know. They were breaking down those mores
and customs and everything. Traditions of the average black
family. And then it was something for [them to experience].
I think about this quite often. It was something for students
to be on a first-name basis with some of their professors.
We had young, white professors, and they would want them to
call them by their first name.
Malesh and some of those folks?
And so, all of them started--. That was different for our
students. That was really different for them. And like I said,
I coined this phrase: we were free spirited; we could mean
a lot of things. OK. (Laughter.) Yeah, like you said, the
mores and the folklore and traditions and all those things
sort of made an about-face. It was a change. But the students
had awareness of what was going on around them. And it made
them become politically active and involved. Like I said,
they were aware, and then they wanted more. It sort of whet
their hunger and their thirst, and they wanted more.
wanted more what?
wanted more in terms of freedom. It opened up the intellectual
pursuit because the average student--I would say the average
black kid during that time was very structured into the mold
of the traditional black family system. Here they got a chance
to question that system.
they kept questioning.
they kept questioning, and they kept questioning why. I never
shall forget. And it might have been during that period where
we reorganized the freshman studies program, and I think the
students were a political action group. They were concerned
about the fact that they were being programmed with the European
style of learning, and the type of books that they were reading
and the type of courses that they were being exposed to. I
think this was a period that they burned the books.
burned the history books?
burned all of the books that had been ordered for them through
a grant. A grant was given. I think it was the Ford or Lily
Foundations grant. And all of their professors were white
in the social science division at that time, so the political
action group [questioned the motives and philosophy of the
freshman program]. I think I'm talking about the right period.
Sometimes I might get ahead of myself with that, but like
I said, there was an awareness.
they demanding black studies?
history. Yes. Yes. They were demanding more.
Late sixties. Yeah. Yeah. But, like I said, I think if I had
to characterize the movement of the students during that period,
it was that there was an awareness that things were happening
other than just in Mississippi. They focused more on national
news, what was happening with Jesse Jackson and his group
over at A and T in North Carolina. OK. What was happening
in Baton Rouge with Rap Brown at Southern University in Baton
Rouge. OK. What was happening in Atlanta, with the students
in Atlanta. So, they were focusing in on the schools, HBCU
[historically black colleges and universities] schools around
the country, and their involvement in the movement.
were really broadening their knowledge and information.
was broadening the knowledge and information. So, you pretty
much had a network [that] had been established, and there
was a sharing with that network, so, they became more involved
nationally with the political scene. They became more aware
of segregation and its impact economically and everything
else, culturally, and everything else on their communities.
And they wanted to bring about a difference and a change.
So, they thought in terms of connecting with other people
in the country who were fighting for the same things?
it. That's absolutely correct. Absolutely correct. Yeah.
I saw that trend, and it helped a lot of people, especially
Tougaloo students because there was an uprise at Mississippi
Valley, and it was as a result, during the midsixties, an
uprise at Mississippi Valley by the student body president
who was a Trinidadian, and he had [a number of home boys here
at Tougaloo who ran track for me. And they kept him informed
as to what Tougaloo students were doing].
So, Wilhelm [Joseph]. My track team, at that time--. Most
of my track athletes and soccer players were from Trinidad,
Tobago, and Tunapuna, and Barbados. So, Wilhelm was--. I never
shall forget. A good friend of mine, Dr. White, was the president,
and they had an uprising up there and Wilhelm was at the head
of that uprise. There was another young man [from Trinidad
by the name of Wilson, a home boy of Wilhelm who was active
in student government at Valley].
was the end of the sixties.
was, yeah, right at the end of them. So, all of that was brewing.
Then, if you look at, you had the Jackson State uprising,
at that time, and it had an impact across the campus. I remember
one particular situation where a young man who came from Woodville,
Mississippi, was at Alcorn, and he started an uprising at
Alcorn, and they kicked him out of school, and Tougaloo took
him in. [His name is Benjamin Shepard].
He came to a safe haven.
Came to a safe haven. [When I spoke with the guy, I found
out that he was a member of my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi].
In other words, his presence and fitting in at Tougaloo was
just perfect. It was a perfect marriage. He was a classmate,
fraternity brother of mine, and he retired as the vice-president
of academic affairs at Southern Illinois University. He went
on to big things, and he's still there. But he didn't fit
in, and the president kicked him out of school because he
tried to organize [students] there at Alcorn, but he came
to Tougaloo. There were many cases where students was at other
schools and they wanted to speak out, and they transferred
could have more freedom here.
could have more freedom to express the ideology and all of
those kinds of things. So, it worked out in many ways, but
I could see that trend in the sixties. In the early sixties,
especially after the sit-in at the library.
Mm-hm. It was the beginning of something.
beginning of something. And, of course, it was [that] they
started being more attuned to the newscast. They were able
to decipher the tone of the news in the local [area, and]
the biases of the local TV channels in the reporting of information
in the media.
were more critical.
were more critical of what was happening because it was distorted
in a way that didn't tell the true picture of what was happening.
And they had lived that picture, so I guess they knew the
had lived that picture. Yeah. That's absolutely correct. Absolutely
a lot more. (Laughter.)
Go ahead on. Go right on.
let me--. OK. So, in challenging that they were also learning
about how the media was depicting student activities and campus
activities and the greater picture.
And they knew the real, true picture. And so, they became
very skeptical of print media and voice media. And when you
had--. I never shall forget this guy; I can see his picture
on the newspaper, not Woody Asah but--. He's dead now. And
he had this logo, and he'd come on the weather. He was a weather
man, but he would always have snide remarks and racist views
that he would say on the news. His own opinions and everything,
and it was distorted. And you knew that he was not telling
the truth, giving a true picture of the news.
you find that the students--? Well, it's a long subject, but
the students that you have today? You're dean of higher education,
now? Or, what?
Of education. Do I find?
you find that some of that tradition is continued?
thinking, but there is a period of passiveness, now. I've
seen this mood swing take place, say every twelve years, or
fifteen years. I am teaching second generation students. I
taught their parents, and I've taught them. I look at Constance
Slaughter Harvey. Then, I look at her daughter, Constance,
and she is carrying on that same type of aggressiveness of
concern. I look at Reuben's daughter. [Judge] Reuben Anderson.
Rainer was politically active here as a student in the pre-law
club. She was aware. She was carrying on. I can just go and
name student after student who really carried that same aggressiveness
as their parents. Then, on the other hand, I've seen those
students who was very [quiet]. Their parents were aggressive,
and they are passive. I've seen that, and they're [good and
they more concerned about what their career and what their
future is going to be?
really. Some of them are. Some of them are. And some are just
more free-spirited than their parents. Yeah, free-spirited
means that it's just any way the wind blows, you know, is
fine. And right now, what is happening around them are exciting
not as focused?
not as focused. That's really what the word is. They're not
as focused as their parents. Then, their parents will say,
"What about so-and-so? I want you to have a
I say, "I'll be glad to." Then
I call them in and get in after them. You know. And then tell
them about the struggle that their parents went through. Say,
"Here, you've got it. You have it all. And then, you're making
no kind of effort to try to move and try to be goal-oriented.
You know. You've had it on Easy Street, and your parents didn't
sacrifice and do all those kinds of things. And they struggled
to try to get through school." Well, sometimes I make an impact
on calling the second-generation in [for conferences].
them some idea of where they came from?
they came from. Yeah. I can remember situations where a prominent
family in Jackson, [their] son came out here, and he was really
indecisive as to what he wanted to do and how he was going
to get there. And I told him--. One night I called him at
home. And I felt that I could--. You know. His parents had
provided him with everything. But something was missing. And
I said, "Look." I said, "I can remember when your dad wanted
to go to Tougaloo so bad. He came to Tougaloo and tried out
for football, and he transferred in. And he cried like a baby
because he didn't have the resources to stay here at Tougaloo
to get an education. That's how bad he wanted to be here.
And he wound up at [another sister school]. But his love was
truly here for Tougaloo." I say, "Your mom came. Your mom
used to bring you to class, when you were a baby, and you
crawled around on the floor in the classroom, because they
couldn't afford to [provide] day care services. You know.
Child care services for you. And then, to make these sacrifices
for you, for them to make the quality of life for you, better
than they had it." And so, that type of history that they
didn't know, but coming from someone outside of the family
who was connected with the family indirectly through the college.
That made some impact. But I found the students nowadays,
they're not challenging in terms of the system. They don't
don't question the system?
they don't question. We have a few, you know, would make a
stand. And I think it's geared toward the type of student
government leadership. I found that to make a difference.
We've had some, I can remember in the sixties, where they
came to arrest a student government official on campus. They
had been barred from campus, I think because of political
actions or something he did that went against college policy,
and I think [he came] back on campus and they had the sheriff
of Madison County to get him off campus. And boy, the student
body [had an] uproar, and they was ready to [riot. Cool heads
prevailed, and the students were told the true facts. And
they understood the college's stand on that matter].
all came and supported him?
support of him. And the sheriff came up, and the sheriff went
in the trunk of his car and pulled out his shotgun, and he
was prepared. Now, this guy was known to shoot.
was his name?
retired and dead and gone. But it was one of the coaches,
[that came up and convinced the sheriff that he would bring
him up to the station]. And this is why I often say that you'd
be surprised the influence that coaches and people who've
been around campus that know the history had a lot of influence
on the students. And he was able to quell the crowd down.
had situations like that here on the campus where I had the
respect of the students, where I can say, "Hey. Look. Let's
stay within the law because we don't want anybody to get hurt."
And so, that type of involvement, and when you get the respect
of the students, that's something that you will always cherish.
And a lot of lives were saved. I'll put it that way. Because
it could have been real nasty.
because they were some very dangerous times.
And then it goes back, like I said, to student involvement
and campus government. But one thing about Tougaloo, it has
always had shared governance.
students. With students. Always. Always. And I think that
is why Tougaloo has been so successful in developing relationships
with the students is because of shared governance. I mean,
way before it became in vogue where you had to have student
representation on all committees and search committees, and
those kinds of things, Tougaloo was doing that.
far back was that? Was that true in the sixties?
It was true in the sixties.
It was more with George Owens. Yeah. He made the difference.
OK. So sixty-four on, maybe.
on was George Owens. Like I said, I made an earlier statement
that he was a consensus-builder. He believed in connectedness.
And he felt that you should be able to [have] open expression.
I mean, I have seen situations down through the years, even
in his administration where it was a toe-to-toe kind of thing.
The only thing I ever saw that really perturbed him and really
disturbed him was the fact that students were demonstrating
and his wife and daughter were walking from the chapel to
the president's home, and some of the students threw rocks
When was this?
was in the sixties.
I never shall forget that. Now, that was when he crossed the
line of being the president. He said, "I have to protect my
family." And [he would not tolerate any physical harm to his
that over some of these demands about black studies.
so much black studies. Maybe it was on some of the difficulties
and decisions administration had made. They weren't popular
decisions. Matter of fact I had two of my vehicles, during
the course of my tenure here at Tougaloo in the early sixties,
vandalized because of some decisions that I was on the disciplinary
review board, and those decisions were made. I made them on
the basis that the college was held accountable had something
happened to students during that time. Some decisions were
made by, were rendered by the disciplinary review committee,
and I stuck with my decisions. I can remember we had two major
riots on the campus.
this the late sixties?
sixties. Yeah. Late sixties. Two major riots. One where they
vandalized and tore up the student union. [Broke] all the
glasses out of the building and when President Owens with
his calm demeanor had the people out the next day to replace
it, the glass, and all of those kinds of things. He rode with
the tide, but it was during those periods, the beginning of
his tenure as president that he believed in shared governance
and being a part of decision-making. Students are apt more
to respect decisions that are made [when] they were part of
the decision-making process.
they have the inclusiveness. That's important.
inclusiveness, and he did that. That was way before even Title
IX. We had co-ed classes way before Title IX in the early
seventies because it was based on economics. You know, we
didn't have the faculty and all that, so we just lumped everybody
had to put them all together. (Laughter.)
was no choice.
Yeah. So that's [what we had to do]. But we were able to weather
the storm but I think through leadership--. You asked why
is it that students were aggressive during that time. Because
they saw beyond the traditional approach to higher education.
They saw that they could have a part in the decision-making
process, and they wanted to be heard. And they were. And then
consequently they were heard. And so their voices didn't land
on deaf ears.
So they were actually respected--
they were so-called grown.
was respected. And, you know, I can show you documentation
just came out today, and every year the Institution Research
Office under Dr. Bailey conduct yearly research on: how do
you feel about Tougaloo? And at the top of the list: "I am
respected as a person." Even with our nontraditional students,
I can show you the results of that survey about three weeks
say, "I am respected."
am respected as an adult. I am respected as a person, and
I am treated with dignity as a person."
that's something you carry with you the rest of your life.
And so, we have that. We have the research. The quantitative
data to back up those statements. We just discussed today
in the academic dean's council, and the question with the
highest rating. That's the highest-rated question is that
by the students.
am respected as a person."
And on that tone, I'd like to thank--. This is a rare place
in a rare history. Very rare. I think this isn't true in a
lot of schools in the country, and hasn't been. And you can
see why Tougaloo was such a key institution and is such a
key institution for the students. And I think I'm going to
have to go. I think you're going to have a class. (Laughter.)
After all, that's my primary responsibility, but I've enjoyed
this, and then there's another chapter. You just call me,
and we can talk through the seventies, and I can carry through
the seventies where Tougaloo ventured off into an area in
which we had very little expertise in dealing with nontraditional
students in the early seventies, and how they came to Tougaloo,
even the Choctaw Indians. We worked for ten years with the
Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia.
worked with them with the college level?
College level. Yes. Matter of fact, Tougaloo had the distinct
honor of graduating in the midseventies more Choctaw students
in one graduating class in college in the history of the Choctaw
students graduated from Tougaloo with a B.S. degree in early
a real first.
a real first, and I started working with [Chief] Phillip Martin
[in Tougaloo's involvement in offering higher education to
the Choctaw Nation in 1971 through 1980]. I directed the program.
And I started working with Chief Phillip Martin in 1971.
You brought the students here?
We brought them here, and we took the college there.
You took the college to Philadelphia?
Pearl River [Community in Philadelphia]. Yes. Matter of fact,
we also had two [nontraditional] programs on the Gulf Coast,
[in] Harrison and Jackson County where we had 150 students
all together, and we had another [seventy-five students in
were all from the Coast?
were from the Coast and Philadelphia [(Choctaws)].
you did extension? Kind of an extension education?
did extension. Yeah. Yeah. Off-campus courses. Yes. And then
we would bring them to the campus.
They also came here for classes?
We also brought them to the campus. [In 1979, Tougaloo produced
the largest number of graduates at one time in the Choctaw
Nation's history: seven with Bachelor's degrees in early childhood
of our graduates is on the tribal council.
Philadelphia. William Lewis.[?] He and his wife both graduated
at the same time.
that would be a fascinating history to do with them.
We have very interesting experiences down through the years
with Phillip Martin and the people at Pearl River. Yeah. We
had a representative from all seven communities. We would
have seven communities.
the Choctaw people.
Yeah. Standing Pine, (inaudible), Bogue Chitta, Pearl River,
(inaudible). They have seven communities, and we had representatives
from all seven communities to attend.
Yeah. (Inaudible.) Matter of fact, one year I was fortunate
to recruit a baseball player from--. He played baseball here
at Tougaloo from the Choctaw reservation.
Yeah. So, that's another story for another time.
is, indeed. (Laughter.) I want to thank you very much.
much, Dean Coleman, thank you. I enjoyed it.
(End of the interview.)