Monday, January 12, 2009

Race Relations at SIU: An Archive of "Dark Musings"

Recently, I stumbled upon an archive of Daily Egyptian articles dealing with race relations throughout SIU-C's history. The entries are reminiscent of those I found in black newspapers elsewhere, but these columns and society notes were written at a largely white institution.

The "Dark Musings" column of the World War II-era was particularly interesting. It echoed the Pittsburgh Courier's "Double V" theme: Victory over the Axis and Victory over Jim Crow (segregation, racism) at home.

See, for example, this 1943 column:

Earl Brooks, "A Better Relationship Between Blacks and Whites"

And another at the end of the war titled "A Better Relationship Between Negroes and Whites."

With renewed interest in the Great Depression (a course I teach), I have photocopied all of the presidential and Board of Trustee minutes and reports from 1929-1942. Soon, I hope to have that link available to readers.

Peruse these older columns to appreciate the hopes and aspirations of earlier generations. Let us hope that Great Depressions and world wars pass our generation by.

1 comment:

OMW said...

Historian Nicholas Lehman describes how the Great Migration of black southerners to Chicago and other industrial centers led to dramatic changes throughout American society (The book's major title is The Promised Land and it hit the market about 15 years ago). Writers such as August Wilson, Richard Wright and William Faulkner explored those same themes in some of their fiction. It is no surprise then that SIUC felt some of the Migration's impact as well as other mass movements of black Americans beyond the South after the Civil War. Of particular interest will be stories--within and outside the DE--that portray encounters and decisions which went beyond the accepted forms of racial relationships in their time frame. Those examples of what the theologian Paul Tillich called "the courage to be" helped lay the foundation for the more well-known Civil Rights movement and the transformative legislation resulting from it.