Diversity in Our Past: Students of Color at Massachusetts Agricultural College

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Diversity in Our Past: Students of Color at Massachusetts Agricultural College

[strumming guitar music] Ok? Well thanks for coming, um, I wanted to talk about some some work I’ve been doing over the last year or two looking at sort of, student life in the late 19th century in Mass Aggie the first 50 years is really my focus and I became very interested in the question of when the first African-American student arrived at UMass, when the first international students, when people of color arrived on campus at UMass. And I was a little bit surprised by some of the findings. It wasn’t obvious to me that Mass Aggie would have been a pioneer in anything along those lines but there are a couple of moments in which we do have pioneering moments where we have these little events that happened at UMass that I think say a lot about larger culture, a lot about the role of Massachusetts in the country a lot about the Agricultural College and its role in the state. And so I just wanted to walk through a little bit and think about what it was like at Mass Aggie in the 19th century because you sit up here in the twenty fifth floor and you look 360 degrees from the center of campus and you look around and you think this place is actually kind of busy now. They seem to be building on every little free scrap of land. There are new construction East and West of here, South of here, not so much North of here, but even with West Engineering Station, North of here. And their gradually erasing a lot of the history of this campus. I think that erasure began intentionally in the 1950s. In fact I’ve talked about this before, when the University made its final gasp to try to break free from its agricultural heritage. And I think symbolically a couple things took place in the 1950s. One was selling off our horse…our herd of horses. The Percherons and the Morgans that had been the mainstay of the agricultural campus here for…for decades they sold them off, used the money to fund educational programs, fund undergraduate educational programs Nothing wrong with that but it was a deliberate turn away from thinking about us as an agricultural place. I think more important than that are these concrete monstrosity buildings that we have around here that some people actually seem to like I’m not one of those some but some people seem to like them but they’re not so much that they’re just ugly buildings or bad buildings, but they’re buildings that are conscious refutation of agricultural heritage. You come here in the middle of this beautiful landscape that we have, one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. It’s a beautiful bucolic place and they plop in these buildings that are full concrete, urban buildings in the middle here and it was part of this conscious decision to say that we’re a modern college which meant to the people who were in the administration at the time, that we could not be an agricultural college. So I’ll start with that and take a look back a little bit and you know if you’d been here essentially not quite literally here, but about 30 yards that way or 40 yards that way in around 1900 this is what you would have seen. You would have looked up Old Chapel here on on the le…on the right. South College on the left. This photograph is around 1900 You can see this beautiful path, the pond isn’t visible but it’s right down here on the right, trees everywhere, well landscaped. It’s a real agricultural college, and this was the heart of both the social campus at the time where the students lived. They lived in South College, they lived in North College which you can sort of see there Many of them lived in fraternities which were elsewhere around and some boarded in town, but this was the heart of campus. Umm, the pond wasn’t always crowded with people but sometimes did get crowded with people. The rope pull. This is a little bit later maybe 190..1910 or so. And you can see the beauty of the campus here, we were an agricultural campus and we lived agriculture. Many of the trees that you see here much of the work that was done here to landscape this, to build this campus was done by students in the early years. Built on plans done by, you know, great architects but this campus was built up over a matter of years. But what was it like to be a student here? I often like to say it was cold and forbidding, that was always my assumption and if this is Mass State College I’m sorry, Mass Agricultural College Photograph of one of the buildings in the middle of summer. It was a lot colder back in the day. Global warming has changed everything. But campus was much

more intimate than it is now. The classes in the late 19th century ranged anywhere from as low as ten people but usually twenty five at the bottom up to seventy five or a hundred. So your cohort was small and I was just looking at some student surveys that were done in 1910 and then again in 1920 and they asked the students, and the alums, what their impression of campus is and what they really cared about on campus what they found most positive here. In 1915 the students one after another after another cited that they love the democratic atmosphere here. They said we come in it’s a small class, it’s a small school so that when you’re a freshman and you come in by the end of the year you know everyone around you, you know the seniors, you know the juniors, the sophomores, you certainly know everyone you come in with. Very intimate, very close. At the time up until the 1890s, and I’ll talk about this, every student took exactly the same progression of courses for quite a number of years up until around 1900, 1895-1900 so students had a lot of class time together and they socialized together because they all live in the dorms, and as a small group of students you’re with one another night and day throughout the year working in the fields, working in the classroom, living in the same rooms, sharing virtually everything. One place to eat on campus, just a couple of dorms, a few little things here that made this a very intimate experience and students loved it And that democratic ideal was something that was baked into the college early on that we were a college for the people, the sons of toil, we were here for the average person in the state not the people who would go to the Harvards or the Yales, who would want to do that anyway but you wouldn’t do that to come to UMass, this is a place you could come to be educated in practical arts to learn real things and it carried into the student body to say that even though there were rivalries between sophomores and juniors, between classes, rivalries to some degree between football players and baseball players perhaps and I’ll come back to that in a minute even though there were these little rivalries, typical of any college at the time, it was a college in which every student felt they were part of the scene and every student felt committed to the whole So I thought that Mass Aggie would be an all-white school and that was my assumption it’s an agricultural college in a largely white state, predominantly a white state, at a time when people of color were not able to go to college very often in the United States. Very few went to college but Mass Aggie has this history of having international students come in, it’s a distinctive history. A different one than you would see at a Harvard or Yale or most other elite colleges of the day Our first international student is probably not Saitaro Naito but a brazilian student who came in about the same time. Saitaro Naito came in 1872, which is just about the time Mass Aggie, first graduating class was 1871, so this is really right at the beginning of the college we have a, an international student coming here from Japan. We had this quite famous here at Mass Aggie, this strong relationship with Japan that began when the Imperial Governor in Japan was looking to modernize, looking to take Japanese institutions and bring them into the 19th century and advance their cause by taking the best of Western science and applying it to Japanese culture. To bring it in. So they reached out to William Smith Clark who was the, effectively the first president of UMass, of Mass Aggie, not technically the first, but effectively first, and would be in a series of exchanges that brought Japanese students here over quite a number of years Shiro Kuroda came in a 18- class of 1895, he did graduate went back to Japan I used this photo only because it shows him in his military uniform and you, you probably are aware that Mass Aggie is a land-grant college, had a requirement for military training. You had to go, as a student here as an undergraduate student you went through military training. This applied to the foreign students, the international students as well. Japanese students came here predominantly to learn agriculture, to bring it back, to learn modern techniques in agriculture and bring it back to Japan but also to learn military science. Boonzo Hashiguchi is one of the most famous of the early grads from, from Japan, he graduated 1881 as you can see here he went off and became almost immediately, the president of the

Sugar Beet Company in Japan. Sugar beets were viewed as a progressive source of sugar, they had been raised here in the, in this region pretty inefficiently and poorly back in the 1840s and 50s as an alternative to cane sugar, as a slave free alternative to cane sugar. But that association of sugar beets and progressive agriculture hung on for a number of years after that political imperative of growing sugar through beets instead of cane passed, but Boonzo Hashiguchi took this knowledge of sugar beets that he raised here, took it back to Japan and became president of their national sugar beet company. He also later became a governor of Formosa apparently. I have this picture here, the Japanese students you can see in the crowd here, in a summer course in the 1920s so this connection with Japan is very long. But what’s interesting here is it’s not just Japan. Second to Japan or maybe first depending on the exact period of time is we had this tremendous influx of Brazilian students so, Manuel Diaz Carneiro in 1878 Special Course, SC is Special Course, came here. But there’s a whole series of Brazilian students who come here. The Almeida brothers, two of the three graduated from Mass Aggie. We are, we had students like George Mansoor also international students from, in his case Turkey and there was after Brazil and Japan, Turkey is our third supplier of foreign students. I looked in vain for any European students here in the 19th century and thus far I haven’t found any, not one. We had students from Cuba, Chile, from Costa Rica, several from Mexico but the big three, Japan Turkey and Brazil. And that’s very unusual. You think you have English speakers coming in here or you think you have people from Western European countries coming here to study. This is an agricultural college devoted to this and we’re drawing instead from countries that we don’t normally think of as supplying a large number of students to foreign, foreign country. Jose Herrero is one of the Cuban students here by the way. So this comes to, one of the guys is rapidly becoming one of my favorite, favorite people, the man, the plan, the facial hair, this is Henry Hill Goodell after whom Goodell library is named And Goodell became president of Mass Aggie in 1885, it was 1884 to 1905, pardon me And Goodell is one of the guys who is not well recognized today for what he did but I think Goodell probably revolutionized this college as much as anybody has and I’ve become more and more convinced that I’m right on this one so please don’t argue with me. Just don’t Makes for an ugly talk if I do but, but Goodell arrived here. He was a Civil War veteran he had served the 25th Connecticut Infantry down in Louisiana during the war, a nine-month regiment he was an officer in there. Again I’ll probably have a reason to come back to that. But you know arrived in 1885 at a point in which Mass Aggie was at quite a low hem. Finances were terrible, there was a real likelihood that we might shut down. But right after Goodell came in, he began doing things that stabilized finances. He began doing things like developing the Extension, well first the Experiment Station and then later the Extension Service, which made us much more useful to the Commonwealth. We were doing real research on agriculture that we were spreading to people in the state and the Extension Service was bringing that knowledge directly to the people who could use it. A lot of this happens under Goodell’s time. He does some curricular renovations. He’s the guy who introduced the two-year non-degree course which became a little bit of a money maker for us. Agriculture, all agriculture, that’s what he had in mind He also had in mind that we could become something more than just an agricultural college, he had the idea that to do agricultural properly you needed to know something about the humanities and the arts. He thought that agriculture people sure needed to know their chemistry, they sure need to know their agriculture and their botany, their horticulture, but they would also need to know how to read and write. And what, it’s surprising to me again when you look down at what Mass Aggie grads did during Goodell’s years here, certainly a number of the one often became farmers but many others went off and became managers and employers and they went off in to different directions Lots of different areas of endeavor that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with graduates of an, of an agricultural college. I haven’t put together statistics for it but a lot of this is due to Goodell. Goodell is also the guy who introduced the graduate school, who introduced what do they call them, electives as majors. Goodell loosened up

a great deal. He opened the door in many ways to curricular innovation that really got the students here excited. So much so that in the 1890s there’s a running debate in the student newspapers over whether we should already change the college name. We don’t want to be Mass Agricultural College we want to become Massachusetts State College. That’s, didn’t happen until 1931 but in 1890s they’re already debating it The old farts, the people who were just a little bit older like Levi Stockbridge who’d been here from the very beginning, objected to that. He said, we can’t turn our back on agriculture not now. Took them 40 years to, to stab agriculture in the back but, but Goodell let the students argue over this and let students take this up and make something of it. They went so far, the students went so far around 1899 1900s to take all the college songs and erase the word Aggie and agriculture from them and replace them with Massachusetts. So the college is a really innovative phase in the 1890s. Now, right around 1896 Goodell may or may not have done something and that’s admit the first woman. Now there was a woman here in a special course in 1875, Caroline can tell you. There was a woman here Louise Mellicent Thurston here in 1875 A special course meant that you paid money you came in you took a limited course, no degree at the end, you got some education but that that was all of it. Florence May Valentine entered in 1892 as a freshman to become a regular undergraduate student here, to go through the course She didn’t last long she only lasted less than a year. Came here from Lynn, Massachusetts she found as she arrived here as the first woman there were no women’s dorms, so she had to board in town I think she joined a couple of clubs, she engaged in life but it was a very limited period of time here. Now let’s go back to that. This is a statement that came probably from Goodell, “There’s no reason why the young women of the Commonwealth should not avail themselves of the opportunities offered here. The doors are open, and they’ll be welcomed both by teacher and student.” And that’s not entirely true Male students ridiculed women. Some males were opposed to women joining. Many others were more open and more positive but it was not a uniformly warm environment for these early students So 1892 the first woman arrives and leaves virtually the same year. 1905 the class of 1905, if you look here you’ll see something that’s really quite distinct that’s these two women sitting here right up front it’s Lilly Bertha, uh, sorry, Esther Cowles Cushman and Monica Lillian Sanborn who were two women who arrived together and graduated regularly with the class 1905. And if you look at the commencement that years it’s not just these two undergrads who graduated, but the first woman to receive her masters received her master’s that year and there were five Special Course enrollees in that year, all of whom were women, all five that year were women. So there was an influx of women this is the very end of Goodell’s time and Goodell was very ill off and on for the last ten years of his life or more but this seems to be something that we can attribute to Goodell. We usually think of this the rise of women at UMass happening a little bit later but but this is really under Goodell’s time. The um, um, the boys in the class were relatively excited by Sanborn and Cushman who seemed to have had a real puckish sense of humor about them and you see the little writings that they left behind in they’re, they’re they can take a boy’s joke, I guess is what I would say. “In one thing,” they wrote this class of 1905, “we are the envy of the other other classes. We have two co-eds. It has not been the custom in the past for those of the female sex to stay at this college for any length of time.” Meaning one woman. “But boys, let us act in such a gentlemanly way towards these, our classmates, that they shall be glad to stay and graduate with the class of ’05.” And they sure enough did There was a woman who came here, didn’t graduate in class 1903, Lilly Bertha Allen, who left after one term but leaving a little bit of a poem in her wake in a classier book, which read, “I’ll sing you a song of college girls, I’ll tell you where to go: Mount Holyoke to learn to fuss,” still true, “Smith to spend your dough,” still true, “Wellesley for your grand old maids,” that’s where my grandmother went, “Simmons for the slow ones,” that’s where I teach, “For wise ones go to Radcliffe,” that’s what I avoid, “But for your beauties, Massachusetts.” I don’t quite understand that but Lilly Bertha Allen certainly did. When you go right around this period of time forward a little bit and you

start looking for other types of diversity, international students and so forth, this photograph from right around 1903 or 04 was one that I ran into and I’d seen it many, many times Guys playing football right in front of Old Chapel they were, there was little football field set up there they played ball out there for, for quite a while and it never occurred to me until recently when I was looking at this that we have an African American player right there. This, when I saw this set me off saying we have to figure out who the first African American student at UMass was, at Mass Aggie was. And it took me a while but Mass Aggie did not record race of enrollees at the time. There is as far as I can tell no statement in the Board of Trustees, no statement in any of the president’s papers saying that we will admit African American students. It seems much more like Goodell saying if they apply and they get in, they come. That seems to have been the attitude. They didn’t do much to encourage, they didn’t do much to discourage. Goodell may have been one of these guys who quietly did encourage and I can’t prove this right now. But you look at Goodell’s past, he was born in Turkey, Constantinople, son of a missionary. Why do we have all these Turkish students well many of them come from missionary centers in Turkey where they’re exposed to an understanding. The early Chinese students who Goodell actually did recruit came from missionary centers in China so he had these connections, that word is spreading The Cuban and the Brazilian students I can’t explain. I have no idea but they were coming. Goodell served in the 25th Connecticut which is a white regiment during the war, he served a nine-month term down in Louisiana but his nine months there were, included two major engagements. The most important of which is the battle, the siege and battle of Port Hudson, and the Port Hudson was known as one of the battles in which there were very large numbers of African American troops. There were two brigades if I remember correctly of African American troops on the Union side besieging Port Hudson and they played a very important role. So Goodell is there in this siege and under horrific conditions if you read his letters, and to the left and the right of them are native guards from Louisiana, the gens de couleur, the, the regiments that they raised, the corps d’afrique is what they called them. Four regiments from Louisiana and regiments of other troops from other states African Americans, soldiers around him. I have no idea what his attitude towards the African American soldiers serving with him, but he certainly saw a large number of them and he certainly saw a large number of them engaging in combat and dying like his brothers in his regiment did. Goodell doesn’t seem to have talked about it at all, but suddenly in 1897, in the fall of 1897, we see this man right here appearing, George Ruffin Bridgeforth. We know actually a fair amount about Bridgeforth right now, by this point. Not, not everything I would like to know but quite a bit. Bridgeforth is very typical of early Mass Aggie students of color He is a little bit older when he arrives here, in fact he was born 1877 he arrived here in 1897 so he’s already 20 by the time he arrived here, but, pardon me 24 by the time he arrived here, if I remember correctly, I’m gonna see my notes here. Yes, 24 by the time he arrived here, I knew the number didn’t remember the year. He was born in Alabama and had actually gone to Talladega College, a historically black college in Alabama, received a degree before he came here. Talladega is important. Why? Well it means he had an education a solid, sound, good education at Talladega and decided to come North. But Talladega is interesting because there are two members of the Mass Aggie alumni pool who ended up teaching in historically black colleges. They were a pair of brothers from Rhode Island named the Bishops, Edgar Bishop and William Bishop. William is the older 18 class, class of 1883 if remember it, and Edgar’s 1885. Edgar ended up teaching at Talladega College William taught at Tougaloo. One of them and I don’t remember which right now ended up a Tuskegee for a little while, and those three names will keep coming back. So it’s possible that Bridgeforth who is this guy born in 1877 in Alabama, raised in Alabama, educated in Alabama, decided to come North. The question is why. 1897, it seems very likely that Bridgeforth might have come North

because this is the point of time in which the second Morrill Act which was enacted in 1890, began funneling money to southern states to create separate and, as it turns out, not very equal, agricultural colleges, land-grant colleges down there. They didn’t give land like they did in the first Morrill Act but they gave funding provided that the southern states create opportunities for African, African-American students either in white universities or in separate universities. So the schools like Florida A&M, Prairie View A&M, all these land, African-American land grant colleges in the south are products of that second Morrill Act. They’re just getting off the ground here. There’s a need in the African-American community for education, there’s a need for instruction Someone like Bridgeforth sees an opportunity in Mass Aggie I think to come north and get a degree from a white college to back up and lend credence and strength to the cause, to the degree he’d already gotten at Talladega. Now when he was here Bridgeforth was a pretty exemplary student in a lot of ways. He won the Flint Oratorical Prize, he was Sergeant of Arms of his class, he played in the football for a couple of years anyway and was actually not too bad. He was a fairly important guy. He was known for oratorical gifts. It was a, it was a bit of a tough road for Bridgeforth. 1897 he arrived and that fall he and a Turkish student named um, Tasjian, Dickran Tasjian, applied to the trustees for relief from tuition and were granted relief from tuition, in that fall. In 1900, I tried to figure out where did he live when he was on campus and in 1900 I actually figured out where he was and he was living not on a campus but off campus on East Pleasant street. Now why was, why was he there? Well he was living in a house run by a woman named Louise Baker who held, or Louisa Baker who held three apartments in her house, two of which went to, or three rooms I should say, two of which went to white students, one of which went to Bridgeforth in 1900 anyway. Now Baker I thought well who is this woman? Turns out that she’s a benefactor of the university here. Her family had sold a bunch of the property that became the central campus of UMass back in the early days of the university and she retained an interest, but she also developed an interest in helping the poor of New York and as she said, “the colored people of the south.” And when she died there was a little obituary in the student newspaper here saying that she had done this quietly, no one knew in many cases what she was doing with the money who she was helping. But it said she even went so far as to pay the tuition of students who are in need and provide them with lodging for students who were in need and George Bridgeforth I think was one of those guys, who became one of her support, supportees I guess for lack of a better word. It says here this is from, from the, from the biography, the obituary rather that was published, “She delighted in acting a mother’s part toward boys who came to college determined to pay their own bills so far as possible. She opened her house to such and always had one or more occupying rooms under her roof. She gave them employment and looked sharply after their conduct and habits… The number of ‘Aggie’ boys whom she has helped in one way or another is unknown to any except those who knew her well. Many of them helped financially to secure their education at M.A.C. She advanced them money to complete their professional studies in universities and in some cases welcomed their sons when they, too, came to their father’s college.” How, Bridgeforth’s time here is to say he was an award-winning student, he did very well in all his classes, he was engaged in Shakespearean uh society, and uh, club, Shakespearean Club pardon me, and and football became the center of his life, and all of those are things that we will attribute such as you’ll see in the, each of the first nine African-American students with only one or two exceptions at Mass Aggie. They are a remarkably distinguished group of people and they’re a remarkably talented group of people who did very well here despite being, usually, only one per class Bridgeforth arriving in 1897 is followed by these nine students over a period of around eleven or twelve years and then it stops Bridgeforth is typical of what happens when they go out of college as well Getting ahead of myself a little bit but in his sophomore year, junior year pardon me, he actually injured himself by igniting a

stick of dynamite in his face, which you know who hasn’t as an undergrad done that, but Bridgeforth it cost him five teeth and it actually took him out of action for about a month, or a month and a half that year but he came back very well, graduated on time, he was picked up and when he got out of here with these two degrees in hand he secured a real plum position. He went down to Tuskegee University and became the farm manager under Booker T. Washington and he was actually quite a famous figure in Tuskegee at that period of time. He was called “a big, blustery, energetic man with a flair and a taste for administrative power.” That meant he went down to Tuskegee and he decided he’s going to take his advanced agricultural knowledge he’d learned up here and turn it to the good of the African-American community in Alabama where he was originally from. It made him some enemies out there and ultimately he had some falling out after Booker T. died especially with some of the people who he rubbed the wrong way because of his taste for administrative power. But he did a pretty remarkable thing, he then went on to an African-American college in Kansas and actually became president of that college. He ultimately retired from that position or left that position went back to Alabama and lived his last days in a place called Beulahland which was sort of a cooperative community of sorts, all African-American in which they purchased land together and sort of sold lots to relatives and friends and that community remained an all black community up until the 1960s, 1970s and I don’t know after that point, it may have continued after that point, but it had this distinctive history where that community founded by Bridgeforth survived the depression comparatively well. People held onto their land they didn’t lose their land or migrate, they stayed on the site. And this is George Ruffin Bridgeforth. He did write to W.E.B Du Bois, I know someone was going to ask, Du Bois brushed him off, didn’t really care for him very much. Let’s go to the next slide 1903, there’s a class in 1903, just a couple years after and if you look here you’ll see William W. Peebles sitting here up in the front, an African-American student, in the back William Hood. Two of the other students whom you know, sound a lot like Bridgeforth in many ways. Now Peebles, when you look at Peebles, let’s go to the next slide, um, you know he’s not a football player. I mean I just, I just got to say Peebles is not, he’s a slight young man a very erudite, educated young man. Hood, a little bit different. Hood’s got you know the slicked-back hair he’s a little bit, little bit of a different personality than Peebles on the surface They roomed together for part of their time here but they were different. Hood was from Alabama he was also a graduate of Talladega. Peebles had come from DC, an upper middle-class family in Washington DC. I think he had spent time at Howard if I remember correctly. But his, his father was a builder in DC, his mother was a teacher. Hood, I haven’t been able to track down his family for sure They were both older, they were both, had degrees before they arrived here. Hood in the yearbook for 1903, was called the “whitest man of his race” which is something I haven’t quite figured out and he was also called “one of the most patriotic men in college,” so not entirely sure what that is. Now Hood, like Bridgeforth and like most of the first nine, this pioneering nine, went on to take his education here at Mass Aggie and turn it into becoming a teacher and an administrator at historically black colleges. He ended up teaching at Sango college in Oklahoma which is for Creek and Seminole Indians on the one hand and also African-American. Peebles is a little bit different in that he left Mass Aggie, moved to Chicago, got a degree in dentistry and ended up, after serving in the first World War, becoming a captain in the dental, Army Dental Corps, ended up settling in Omaha and became a dentist. Lived there for 30 or 40 years, 30 some years after, at the end of the first World War as a pretty distinguished professional He’s really the only only one of the first nine who did not go into education for any period of time. Let’s go next, we have the Hubert brothers, class of 1904 and class of 1912. The Huberts I find really pretty remarkable guys. Zachary Hubert, the guy on the left here, born in 1877 so he’s, you know, he’s quite a bit older when he arrived here. Both Hubert brothers and apparently every other Hubert of their generation, the next generation, the generation following, all went to Atlanta

Baptist College, Moorehouse College, same So these guys had their degrees before they came up here, like Hood, like Bridgeforth, they were prize winners Zachary Hubert I think, no sorry Benjamin Hubert the younger, won the Flint Oratorical Prize which at least three of these pioneer nine did. He received a gold medal for that prize and a cash gift of twenty dollars, which is actually a great deal of money in 1913, 1912-1913 His speech for which he won that prize was called “The larger freed-,””The larger freedom of the negro,” which says was a “sustained and effective appeal for the betterment of conditions among the negroes of the south.” Now he was followed in his oration for, for this prize by a Chinese student, one of the first Chinese students to come in there who argued for, that Chinese culture was rising not static like most white Americans believed at the time. Benjamin Hubert was a pretty remarkable football player. He was said to have been an “all South colored half back” at Atlanta Baptist College. I believe Zachary played as well but virtually all these guys had this football team as a center for them. Let’s go to the next slide. This is class, freshmen arriving in 1905, and you can see up here William Hunlie Craighead, sitting up there, who is a very important guy, one of my favorite people. You’ll also see a couple of women sitting off in here. This is a very different class taken, ah, arriving class you can see is a little bit larger than some of the other classes we had. Sitting right, right in front of, what’s that building next door that they’re renovating? Ah yeah Old Chapel. I was testing you. Old Chapel, you passed. Thank you. Craighead came from DC and was a very gifted athlete. He was loved by his classmates apparently, he was academically distinguished, he was another winner of the Flint Oratorical Prize, we don’t know what his topic was. He was six foot tall, 195 pounds at the time which is a pretty, pretty good-sized guy and he played varsity football from his freshman year all the way up to the end and what’s important about this is that he played at a time when Matthew Bullock, who I thought was in this photo but I must have put the wrong photo in here because don’t see Matthew Bullock, this is the wrong photo but Matthew Bullock would be sitting off on the left here. Matthew Bullock was a Dartmouth grad who came here in 1904, 1907, and 1908 and coached football. He is the first African-American head football coach at a predominantly white university that’s here at Mass Aggie. He was only here three years, he did some pretty good things, but he brought in, um, he must be in the next image, he brought in Craighead who became captain of the team. Craighead was also vice president of his class, Craighead was an editor and contributed articles to the newspaper, Craighead did just about everything. He seems to have gone off into education but didn’t attain the levels that the Huberts did. The Huberts ended up being very highly placed in African-American colleges. Zachary Hubert, the younger, became president of Jackson College and then also Langston College out in Oklahoma. And Hubert became an educator as well but but didn’t quite reach the levels of the president Craighead went off and taught, became a County Extension Agent and an educator in Virginia where he apparently had connections. So he’s a teacher, an educator, college, and this applies to just about everyone except for Peebles who became a professional. So the next guy, John Thomas Caruthers, class of 1907, a guy from Tennessee he’d come here after a degree at Nashville U, therefore he was a little bit older 22, 23, 24 years old. It was said in newspa-, in the yearbook “he joined the class 1907 and has never since regretted his choice. He has been a strong man for the class, having filled with dignity position of sergeant-at-arms,” yet another of these pioneering nine, “and having been ropepull captain for two years. As a result Naughty-seven,” the class of 19, 1907, “holds two trophies, well won.” He won second prize in the Grinnell Agri-, in the Agricultural Contest, Grinnell Agricultural Contest which was paper for the, prize for the best paper in agriculture. He won second prize for that. He went on and taught at Manual Training School in southern New Jersey and he graduated in 1907, which is after Goodell’s period This is right when Kenyon Butterfield came in and I had been thinking maybe that transition of Butterfield, pardon me, Goodell to Butterfield had changed the atmosphere on campus somehow away from this idea of recruiting, or at least accepting African-American students. But 1907 he graduates, Butterfield has only been here about a year and what does

Caruthers do when he goes down in New Jersey? He invites Butterfield to come down and give the commencement address at the Bordentown campus there, and he sure enough does that. Finally I can, I’ve got to talk about Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, what town is this? Amherst right? [Laughing] Testing you again. There is one student and only one student that I had been able to find who doesn’t fit the pattern of being a southern student who had a degree before arriving here. It’s the man in the lower left, Charles E. Roberts. That’s Matthew Bullock sitting in the back the, the coach and Roberts fits the bill for pretty much everything. He joined his class 19, uh class of 1911, is here for a couple of years. He was a superior athlete. He ended up not playing three games in his second year here because of a knee injury but he was a strong runner and a strong football player. Participated in the life of campus as well. He came from Amherst. His father was a, married a French Canadian woman, I believe probably mixed-race, French Canadian woman from Vermont and Roberts was actually born there but came down here. His father was a janitor at one of the local hotels here and he lived on, I forget the name of the street right now it’s right off of Route 9 just south of the Amherst, >>Hazel Street. >>Which one? >>Hazel Street >>Hazel Street that’s it. He lived on Hazel Street. Someone knows. Hazel Street, and that was uh.. His story, now I had thought he didn’t graduate, where would he go, what would he do? He did actually leave here and, oddly enough, even though he didn’t graduate, I saw that he did enter in to become part of the educational, the education of his fellow African-Americans after graduating. He became an athletic director at Lincoln University in Philadelphia area. So he follows the pattern in a different way He later became a machinist in life and moved to Buffalo and sort of lose track of him, but he’s a little bit of an exception. But you have this picture of these guys. This is my cat. You have a picture of these guys, these nine pioneers who very largely are people who are already accomplished in life, they’ve received degrees in southern universities with one exception, there from southern states with one exception, and they were virtually no other southern students at the university. I should have said that They come north to get a second degree and they use that as a springboard to go into higher education in African- American colleges throughout the country Three of them at least become college presidents. Eight of the nine end up teaching in some capacity in some cases for many years in African-American HBCUs. These guys are serious contenders for some of the best students of the day at this university and we totally forgotten about them because after Roberts, after 1911, after 1912 we entered a period in which virtually no African-American students are seen here for many years. I still can’t explain why we see the first students arriving and I can’t see why we see them leaving. There is a little bit of an exchange I think that may help understand this. Benjamin Hubert, one of the Hubert brothers, the the older of the, sorry, the younger of the Hubert brothers wrote to Du Bois at one point and we have little exchange between Hubert and Dubois about education. 1942, Du Bois writes back to Hubert and I think this says a little bit about Hubert’s ideas and about what might have happened here. Du Bois writes, “Far from believing that we should begin at the bottom and work up,” as educators in African-American population, “I distinctly [believe] that we should begin at the top and use the educated power at the top to lift the masses of the bottom Higher education is not for itself and its own enjoyment but furnishes the power and the leverage by which the mass of people can obtain not only economic security but cultural progress. What I’m trying to do then is to obtain for the masses especially in the industrial development the leadership of college graduates.” That was Du Bois. I think most of the graduates here came from the different perspective and that is more the Booker T. Washington perspective of training manual arts and getting people marketable, manual skills. In the 1890s through 1910 or so, this made a lot of sense, it was a time in which those ideas were, were popular across the country both in the white community and African-American community because it was an opportunity as a way out and this is an opening of doors in the 1890s, that second Morrill Act opened doors in the

south to think about education, manual education if only, if only manual education for larger numbers of people And they needed teachers, they needed students and these students took it upon themselves to improve their education to get the imprimatur of a white college willing to do this and took it back to their college and they did very well for themselves, but they were working in a paradigm that was sort of self-limiting. So I think there’s a supply side of this where there are fewer students who see the need to come north because there are colleges in the South that are accepting African-American students for the first time in larger numbers and they’re seeing maybe opportunities shifting in front of them, away from the type of education in this first group of nine had in mind to something different, something that didn’t match up with agricultural education being the ideal for African-American students. There could have been a shift at the university as well. Kenyon Butterfield arrived here in 1905, was here for decade and a half or so as the president and he’s credited with altering the curriculum and bringing more and more women into the university and providing, building the first women’s dorm and providing educational opportunities attuned to a woman’s interest within this larger framework of an evolving agricultural college Butterfield doesn’t seem to have taken up the same challenge in looking at African-American students or for that matter even international students and so you see those numbers trailing off and disappearing. It’s not clear whether it was a conscious decision or an unconscious decision he simply didn’t do it and his successors certainly didn’t do anything either. Butterfield was a great a great figure here at the university but it was, it took someone like Goodell whom I think was more open to allowing the university to do things than it was someone like, like Butterfield who opened doors for other people but shut them for African-American students. And there’s a handful who come here and there. The students by and large don’t seem to have protested one way or the other. You see moments in Mass Aggie history, Mass state history and UMass history where white students stood up and said this is wrong but until the 1960s things didn’t really change. So I cut off the first 50 years I don’t know want to talk about anyone who’s dead, who’s alive. I really don’t. So I don’t have a real answer for how we ended up where we ended up but there is this moment of time that I think we can look back today and say there was something happening here we don’t entirely know why or what but the product is these nine students who are really outstanding representatives of their, of their classes and ought to be recognized as such. So if you have questions I’d be glad to uh, do what I can answer Donuts, no cookies, sorry, there are cookies. >>What sources do you use mostly? >>This is tough. The sources, it’s very tough. I’ve gone through the President’s papers for that period of time, the student newspapers, the Index which is the college yearbook, any magazine I can get in my hand from the period of time, student records to the best I can. To identify these students was very, very difficult because they are not identified by race anywhere that I can locate. What, what I could do would be to look at the photographs but photographs basically going to exist for the students between about 1880- something or other with any significant numbers between 1880s to about 1905. So some of it’s guesswork and one of the things I ended up doing was going through the register of students and looking for any student from the south and any student who’s not from Massachusetts for that matter and after I got through there I had some names to work with and one or two students from the South were white but not too many white Southerners were willing to come north, to Mass Aggie. And then you go through things like the census and so forth and it’s tough. I did go through the 1900’s census pretty extensively, 1910’s census as best I could, 1890’s missing and looked all in Amherst to see anybody identified as a student in the listings and see what race was identified because that was one place where they are identified. So it’s it’s not super easy I would say that >>How did these students come to Mass Aggie was it marketing, grapevine? >>I think the Talladega connection and probably Toogaloo, Tuskegee is the one thing I can point to concretely. Edgar Bishop having been down at Talladega for a number of years had connections down there so in Talladega we had

someone connected. Beyond that it’s a little tough to tell, you know how we got two guys from DC, or Washington or Virginia to come up here I don’t know I mean it’s not at all clear. Mass Aggie was a progressive college but by the 1890s, 1900 it’s one of any number so they could have gone lots and lots of places but you know we’re talking one or two a class which is, you know, relatively small. Five percent of any, of a smaller class and maybe you know half that of a typical class, so this small number is arriving here but Talladega is one but Toogaloo and Tuskegee that trio seem to be kind of critical and I suspect the presidents of the university or the faculty members here may have had connections that are a little harder to pinpoint but it’s not obvious. It does not seem to be marketing of any kind, I can say that. And there wouldn’t have been marketing outside of Massachusetts >>So this is actually a really good follow up question, were you able to find any type of correspondence between like any faculty or administrators who would have done some type of recruiting efforts? >>I have looked, I’ve looked, I’ve looked I have not found anything. It’s really tough I mean, I had expected at some point to see African-American students from Massachusetts coming here and I can’t say that there aren’t any because I can’t say. But having gone through all the yearbooks and you look at all the photographs it’s, it’s tough to tell There was a woman who graduated in 1919, or something like that who we, I was trying to identify the first African-American woman graduate and we thought it was her and I looked her up, she’s from Springfield and my god there’s an African-American woman in the census that’s been identified, but it’s a different woman with the same name And it took me a while to undo that but she’s sort of identified as our first African-American woman graduate but it’s definitely not her. So it’s really tough and it will take, you know and I’m going to pursue it, but it will take a lot more work to sort of rule out that there are any African-American students from Massachusetts coming here or Connecticut for that matter. Might take a stroke of luck, but really what I hope is that I find a letter like that saying we have a student in my school would you, would you take him. No haven’t seen anything of that. And going through some of the alumni profiles and things like that there’s, no one jumps out as obvious. I’ve tried to track these guys it’s just very elusive, and because there’s no clear statement saying we’re going to open the doors or we’re going to close the doors either end, you know, I’m left sort of having to look at everyone >>What about during the 60s? How many blacks show up? >>They’re living so I don’t look at them, but the numbers don’t rise until the later 1960s. After 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, there were a small number of faculty here on campus, Bill Bromery being one, oh my gosh, public health… what’s? [Inaudible off-camera response] Yes there were a couple of faculty who got together and tried to put together a program to recruit African-American students soon after 1968 and although it was only partially successful I would say, you probably know as much or more than I, but it was, it was successful in a way. I think it wasn’t necessarily successful in the direction that they wanted to go but it did succeed in getting at least a larger number of students here. The formation of the Afro-American Studies department here I think was a, was a key moment and the people they brought in here, had in here, brought in here who, who brought that department together were amazing people Thelwell and Esther Terry, Mike Thelwell, and Esther Terry, John Bracey a little bit later, Bill Strickland those guys really, really did know how to put together an academic program and that helps solidify. But the numbers have remained, you know, too small >>There was one person in my class I remember, a black, and he was actually a big man on campus. >>Yeah. >>But there’s only one I remember that >>Well, you know, the Taj Mahal, you know there’s a handful of, of African-American students here throughout and I did run into a case, and I wish I’d written this down, the late 1940s or earliest 1950s there was a case that I ran into in the newspapers in which students on campus here, mostly white students, had taken it upon themselves to go and try to integrate a restaurant that would not seat African-American students and so that was done here. There was lobbying on campus in the early 1950s, mid-1950s

against fraternities for excluding mostly Jewish students although in, African-American students did not get mentioned but Jewish students were mentioned there, these prescriptions on integrating unit, the frats and that became quite a big issue on campus in the early 50s. >>[Inaudible] >>there was a Jewish fraternity on campus here even into the 1930s but it was, it was the other frats that were a problem And the argument came down to the students the frats who did not want to integrate, if that’s the right word Claimed that they were part of a national organization that had a charter on which the terms were set by Southern universities who didn’t want Jewish students. So these, these sort of arguments played out here on campus but the point is there was, there was a moment of interest here. In 1890s there’s interest on campus here, there’s some directly racist things you can see in the student newspaper no doubt about it, including a very long article in which one student was arguing that you know African, African students were probably African, peoples of African descent, were thrown out into the world after slavery and in this semi-barbarous state and so forth but it was part of an ongoing debate and that position seems to be in the minority on campus here in the 1890s Booker T. Washington, you may not have known, came to campus in, 1901 was it? And spoke out, not campus, he came to Northampton to and spoke there on agricultural pursuits and there are a couple of these students spoke and he mentioned at commencement on topics dealing with race and racial equality. The Oratorical Prizes they gave did the same so there was a discussion here in the 1890s, it seems to have evaporated after the first World War, maybe even before the first World War but certainly after. And it didn’t come back except in these brief spurts until the 1960s and the assassinations of King in particular helped spark the sort of next real change here on campus as far as I can see. But as I say I try not to think about or write about people who are living and those people are living so >>You know my thought is that the emergence of women on campus and the energy put into welcoming them and having them be part of the campus was a focus was for that first. What were the 1900s, 1950 just huge bringing them on and I don’t know whether the small campus could have handled two big pushes at that time >>It’s an interesting question. >>And then the other part of it is, you keep referring to the index and that would be those that graduated and I didn’t know whether your primary sources really looked at not only the special courses but those that enrolled. >>I have gone through the non-graduates and to the best I can, the special courses and it’s a possibility that there are more students in the special courses because I can’t see them all, they’re not as consistently recorded but I believe I’ve got through all the non-graduates, all the people who matriculated and did not graduate. And so Caruthers, wasn’t, not Caruthers but Roberts who was one of those guys who came up as a non-graduate. He was the only one of the nine who didn’t graduate. One of the guys I didn’t talk about Albert Mebane was a short course guy, special course guy who did graduate. He also went on and taught at a historically black college and I think Hampton in his case if I remember correctly. So there’s, you know, I’ve done the best I can with the records we have I’m frustrated that I can’t find, we don’t have a lot of Goodell’s writing unfortunately, we don’t have as much as you would like, but I can’t find anything in the trustees or anything Goodell or anything in a period of time where you can see an affirmative statement about anything of this kind. And it is possible that there are northern students whom I’ve missed because they’re not identified by race and it’s possible that there are non-matriculants, or non-graduates, pardon me, or short course people who could have leveled it but they’re a different status so I, rather than looking at every single one of them, I probably have, but rather than looking at every single one I decided focus on the graduates because they were the easiest and the best documented. >>It seemed too that most of the ways that you could identify someone was with a visual profile rather than looking, you wouldn’t have any information, you know, on biracial or- >>No, and when I, when you go

through, I’m looking for anything visually and of course it’s a terrible guide but anything that’s seen possible, I go to the census and try to find the guy and see how he’s identified in the census and I, you know, that’s not particularly a good guide either, necessarily. I have a friend of mine in Michigan who was doing his family genealogy and he traced back to his, I want to say this great grandfather who had been born into slavery on the North Carolina/Virginia border. In the 1870’s census he’s listed as African-American in Virginia, 1880 census I think he was down in South Carolina listed as Indian, in 1900 he’s listed in Georgia as white, and then 1910 he’s in Michigan as African-American. So go figure it out now You can get an idea who the guy is by my phenotype he can pass for almost anything and depending on where he is, what his job is, what he’s doing, what he wants to try to do in life, he can take a position one or another. You don’t want to be African-American in Georgia in 1900, and, and you don’t want to be native and South Carolina in 1880 but he was because it was probably preferable, but this kind of thing makes it even more difficult to look at the students here But I’ve got to get something to get these students on. That’s why i say Bridgeforth may not even be the first student here, he’s simply the first we can identify and until this we know, I think that we knew only really about one of the other nine students, not, you know, so I’ve been able to uncover another seven but it is notoriously tough. Even women who are a little easier to identify by name are very tough to identify before a certain date and the short course may have had more than the one woman that we can identify positively but what we can say pretty surely is there are few, there are very few >>From your research do you find that any of those nine students corresponded with each other or knew each other from different classes? >>Excellent question I mean I know Hood and Peebles lived together for one year. They shared a room The students generally, the African-American students generally lived in the same dorms when they lived in dorms as white students. A couple of them lived in boarding houses but in boarding houses they had both white and black students Hood and Peebles shared a room together. I recently got interested in whether the Japanese students here, whether they were integrated as well and you can convince yourself of almost anything, but I can find a couple of instances where you have say two Japanese students on campus at the same time, sharing a room. And we don’t know how it is but you see also instances where they’re out and most of the students had their own rooms so they’re integrated by room if you want to call it that here. That’s the most I can say. After leaving here I can see letters of these guys, you know, obviously Huberts knew one another and they stayed together and as educators at that level there’s every reason to expect that they could have corresponded but I don’t, I haven’t been able to track that down because we wouldn’t have that documentation here. The best they’ve been able to try to do is see who writes to Du Bois and three or four these guys do in fact correspond with Du Bois. So, because Du Bois corresponds with everybody. Didn’t know if you knew that but… [Laughing] [Inaudible] [Laughing] Yes no there, Du Bois hasn’t corresponded literally with everybody. Yeah, it’s, it’s really, it’s a vitally important question actually to ask whether these students who are coming here are assisting one another when they leave here and my guess is that these guys, it’s usually one student per class, in 1903 there’s two, but usually one student per class and so their cohort is basically all white around them.They would have known the other students a year before a year after, but not necessarily as well as the students in their class. It’s a little harder to tell as a result whether to make anything, whether they supported one another after leaving here. I was just floored by how well they all did, you know, how they all landed immediately in these positions teaching and how they did quite well. Bridgeforth rising through the ranks and the Huberts who were an incredible family as far as I can tell, everybody in that family is incredible, but some of these other guys rising up to the tops of the ranks as quickly as possible. And you see also the hardships they faced, you know, getting, getting fired from a position because you have a segregationist governor who comes in who decides- you know these kinds of things happen to students here

but I see one of the pieces that’s missing is did they help one another? Can’t tell. I gotta believe the answer’s probably, but I can’t tell Anything else? Yeah? >>So it sounds like most of most of the black students came here they already had undergraduate degrees and they got a second undergrad or were they getting their master’s? >>Yeah, second bachelor’s of science they would have gotten here. Yeah and they, I did some work to try to track down the first graduate degree and it might have been in the 30s is my recollection after the period of time that I was working, just the first 50 years, but there seems to have been, there’s a master’s in, I want to say it’s agricultural chemistry or something like that in the early 30s from an African-American student here But these students are coming here and they mostly have gotten educations in, I believe in most cases gotten degrees before coming here. It’s not all that necessarily unusual you know for people intending on a career in academia at this time, getting a degree here and then going and doing additional study abroad, if you were in sciences, you know, going Göttingen, Tübingen, or the Freiburg School of Mines or something like to raise yourself up is something you would do either with or in lieu of a graduate degree. So this is a version of it and I think it’s a fairly ephemeral version of it because the educational landscape changes but in this moment of time it happens here Well, thank you. I appreciate you coming [Applause] Enjoy the reunion stuff