INDeX SpeCIAl RepoRT
Thursday, December 5, 2002
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to Distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be
judged by the
Minorities seek sense of balance
said. “You’re not going to want to be in a major with all men. You’re not going to want to be sur- rounded by men all the time, all the way. You’re going to want to be around a couple other women, even if they’re not the same race or creed as you — just knowing that there’s another woman there.” Catherine Lee for the Index “Does racism still exist? Hell yeah,” said junior Earliana McLaurin. McLaurin is almost your typical Truman stu- dent. She came to Truman on a full scholarship, has participated in various activities and organiza- tions during the past four years, served as a stu- dent adviser and consistently feels overworked and overstressed. Blanchard said one element some people have a difficult time understanding is scholarships for minorities. Blanchard pays for all her school expenses, including tuition and rent, and receives scholarships and loans as well. However, one distinguishing factor sets her apart: she is one of approximately 3 percent of the student body that is black. One of these scholarships is from the American Chemical Society and is reserved for black chem- istry majors because of the lack of representation in the major. “The most important part of being black on this campus isn’t ‘being black’” McLaurin said. “It’s being me.” “A couple chemistry majors have thrown it in my face before, but I take the blows as I need to,” Blanchard said. “If the shoe was on the other foot McLaurin said the lack of diversity on campus can be complicated to deal with because of con- flicting feelings and different viewpoints. — if being a white male was a minority — are you telling me that you wouldn’t use that to your advantage every time you could to get to the next spot, to get where you need to go?” “Blacks, because they’re such a small minority here, there’s a tendency to not want to be the stereotype,” McLaurin said. “I think that that’s what a lot of black peo- ple fear when they’re here — that other people won’t ‘get’ them — why they wear the clothes they do, why they talk the way they do. “I was worried if people would accept me ... the way I danced, things I was interested in, music I listened to.” Being white and being the minority may seem like an impossibility to some, but senior Allison Schuller expe- rienced it for four years when she attended Manual High School, a predominantly black school in Peoria, Ill. “I have a lot of white friends who are fascinated by the fact that I have an afro.” “It was very different to have the tables turned on me,” Schuller said. “But I loved my high school experi- ence and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” She said her hair is about six or seven inches from her head when extended fully. McLaurin is taking African American Literature and said a recurring theme throughout the course, as well as in life, is that of a double standard. Allison Schuller senior Although Schuller spoke little about any bad times she had in high school, she said that at times situations could get tense, and segregation “Sometimes I’m in situa- tions where I’m too black to hang with my white friends and too white to hang with my black friends ... and it’s things like that that make me want to be the non-stereotype even more,” McLaurin said. “People are surprised when black people like to do more than just listen to rap and play basketball. I like the arts. I’m a colorguard instructor for the band. I’ve been an SA. I do a lot of different things with the multicultural center. I do different stuff, not your usual typical black life that people think of.” still existed. “In high school, because I was friends with black people, Schuller said. the white guys never talked to me,” “The girls sometimes did but gener- ally they were stand-offish too.” Another difference Schuller said she observed was in the cafeteria. “The whole cafeteria was filled kids, and there was always one table filled with white kids,” she said. with black completely Schuller high school also said that because of her unique experience, her first arrival at Truman McLaurin said another problem is the tendency of minorities to segregate themselves from other students purposely. was a slight culture shock. “I was worried if people would accept me ...
the way I I listened danced, things I was interested in, music to,” she said. Although Schuller did find acceptance, she said that she still misses the cultural diver- sity at Truman. “I don’t regret attending here because now I’ve experi- enced both extremes. ... I think people are just afraid of things that are different from themselves but I’m just the opposite — I like situations like that because I know I can learn from them,” she said. Sophomore Donivan Foster, vice president of Phi Beta Sigma, a historically black fraternity, said he thinks that the campus could benefit from focusing on improving the already-exist- ing groups and diversity efforts on campus. “I think that the groups that we already do have that deal with diversity could use more [student] support. Things like Native American “They make the color barrier problem,” McLaurin said. “When you see black people walking around, you very rarely see them walking with white people, and that really perturbs me because how can you expect to come up here and say, ‘We want to pro- mote diversity,’ and then you do stuff like that in your everyday life?” “If you look up and there’s not another face like yours anywhere in the crowd, it can be a little unnerving.” Junior the only Leslie Blanchard, African-American chemistry University, major at the said she agrees that the small black students minority of can some- times make it difficult to connections on campus. find “When I came here, one of my first classes was an LSP literature class, and I remember walking in and being the only black student there,” Blanchard said. “For most of the liberal arts class- es, I’ve only seen like one other black student.” Leslie Blanchard junior She said the lack of diver- sity extends outside the classroom as well and could be a factor in minorities choosing to attend schools where they are more represented in the overall population. History Month, for example many students showing up ... you don’t see for, participating as in things like that.” Senior Angela Ballard said she there’s a lack of understanding when also thinks it comes to “If you look up and there’s not another face like yours anywhere in the crowd, it can be a little unnerving,” Blanchard said. different races on campus. “I think it’s really sick, of the this some ways
Blanchard said it is sometimes easier to under- stand the dilemma when it’s taken out of the racial context and put into a different one: gender.
“It’s just a different connection,” Blanchard
... We’re moving are still hiding Ballard said.
into the behind
21st century, and people what they’re used to,”
Program strives to promote learning opportunities for minority students
but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
page design by Brady Miller/Index
Caitlin O’Day for the Index
The Ronald E. McNair program celebrated its 10th anniversary on campus this year.
The program is one of six TRIO programs funded by the Federal Department of Education. It helps fund minorities and under- represented students with academic potential.
Bertha Thomas, interim dean of the Multicultural Affairs Center, said the McNair program offers mentoring, graduate school preparation and undergraduate research oppor- tunities.
“It makes it 100 percent sure that they are going to have a great experience here at Truman and their time here is well spent,” she said.
The University offers other scholarship pro- grams for minority students. One of these, the
Louis Stokes Missouri Alliance for Minority Participation, is designed to increase enroll- ment and retention of minorities in the sci- ences. It also is designed to increase the num- ber of minority undergraduates earning degrees in disciplines concerning life, physical, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics and engineering.
Similar to the McNair program, Stokes Scholars are provided with a mentor. These students engage in workshops that promote confidence-building and skill-enhancement.
Thomas said another program offered at the University is the Scholastic Enhancement Experience program.
A small number of students spend five weeks before to their freshman year at Truman.
“They take a couple of classes, receive a great orientation to campus and the communi- ty, and attend social events,” she said.
Thursday, December 5, 2002
INDeX SpeCIAl RepoRT
Sophomore Marian Adjei-Tawial, a student originally from Ghana, Africa, sits alone among the crowd in Ryle Hall cafeteria Wednesday during dinner.
Separation remains prevalent
Catherine Lee for the Index
America was a place of rapid change and adjustment in the 1960s and 1970s. Big cities and small towns all over the United States were gasping to keep up with the country’s new momen- tum, and Kirksville was no dif- ferent.
In 1968, Pat Ward, an ele- mentary school teacher from St. Louis, enrolled in Truman State University, then Missouri State Teachers College, and experi- enced life as a black college student in the ‘60s.
Ward said many things then were similar to how they are now — extreme cold in the
winter, nothing to do on the weekends, parties and pranks. But she also described an envi- ronment that was very “separate but equal” in its essence.
“If you could just imagine an invisible line, it’s not like you were yearning to be on the other side of the line because you had your own friends and relation- ships and life going on,” Ward said. “But it was there just the same.”
Ward said she never experi- enced any outright racism or discomfort at Truman because it was almost as if two worlds existed: white and black. There was no animosity or racial ten- sion but very little integration, she said.
“In terms of blacks, it was
like a parallel universe,” Ward said. “I don’t know if it was a survival thing or what, but that’s what it was.”
Ward, one of the founding members of a chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black sorority, said students and residents were very race-con- scious at the time, but the same could be said about the rest of the country as well.
Peaceful protests and sit-ins were common on campus, and she vividly remembered a par- ticular instance during which she and other students succeed- ed in taking over the Registrar’s Office to protest a housing reg- ulation.
Ward said other things stuck out in her memory as well, such
as mandatory curfews — 10 p.m. on weekdays, 11:30 p.m. on weekends — and same-sex residence halls. She said the boys got the benefit of maids to clean their bathrooms, but the girls did not.
Ward said that although little strife existed among white and black students, the overall lack of integration made it difficult to become involved in the pre- dominantly white areas and activities of the University.
“I was very involved with the sorority and socialized a lot, but I never really felt connected to the school itself,” Ward said. “I’ve never been back to visit, never had a desire to.”
One separation between the black and white community that
was always consistent, Ward said, was seating arrangements at mealtime.
“We all ate together,” Ward said. “It was an unspoken thing. I don’t know why ... I guess it was because you knew you could always be accepted by black people, but you didn’t always know with white peo- ple.”
The separation still is being noticed today by some students in both the cafeteria and the Student Union Building.
“When I was a freshman and sophomore, I would walk into the cafeteria and see all the black kids sitting together,” junior Earliana McLaurin said. “It’s totally natural. You go where you feel comfortable.”
Racism still haunts Kirksville
Katie Volin for the Index
The fight for understanding between whites and blacks has been a tumultuous and difficult one in Kirksville. Discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes and racism plagued Kirksville’s past and continue to affect students’ interactions with the community today.
Blacks first came to Adair County as slaves, said John Sparks of the Adair County Historical Society. Farms were small in the area, though, so only the wealthy had slaves. He said they owned relatively few.
“If you had any money at all from colonial days to 1860, you probably owned slaves,” Sparks said. “Most of the slave owners had very few. If you had 10, you had a lot.”
building, which was formerly the town library, a bathroom door still read “Coloreds” until it was painted over in the late 1990s.
“This town was very definitely segre- gated,” Sparks said. “Nothing was said about it. It’s just the way it was.”
KKK members were documented in Kirksville as late as 1979, when three members visited the town square. One of them, Joe Shatto, the Grand Titan, or leader, of the Northeast Missouri KKK chapter, made a presentation about the KKK to a sociology class at the University.
A video in the special collections department of the library is titled “The Klan in Northeast Missouri.” It docu- ments an interview the sociology depart- ment had with Shatto before his presenta- tion at the University in 1979.
Most of the newly freed slaves in Adair County moved away after the Civil War ended.
The KKK recruited members from Kirksville after its visit to the square that summer.
“They just didn’t stay around here,” Sparks said. “They didn’t feel welcome.”
While former slaves were leaving, the
“We gained two new members off the square,” Shatto said in the July 12, 1979, issue of the Index. “They haven’t been
approved yet but will be in July.” Although there have been no documentations of the KKK in Kirksville since 1979, some people maintain that it still has members in the area. Robert Mielke, pro- fessor of English, said he thinks white supremacist groups remain in the Kirksville area. “I think you have it all out here,” Mielke said. “You’ve got paramilitary. You’ve got white suprema- cists. You’ve got Nazis. You’ve got Klan. But it’s all kind of under the robes. I hear — it’s all a dirty little secret — it’s still around, but they’re very, very low profile. Most of these people are very nervous and jittery about their ideology, so they won’t Ku Klux Klan was moving in. The KKK was especially active in Kirksville in the 1920s and 1930s, and their advertisements and accounts of their meet- ings occasionally were “In the community, I think it’s a problem of ignorance.” featured in the Harry Cecil junior Kirksville Express. Daily Only one or two black families lived in the town at the time, and if there were any acts of violence as a result of racism, they were not document- ed. Jim Crow laws were prevalent in Kirksville, however. Before Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954, there was a black high school on the edge of town. Downstairs in the Adair County Historical Society
Mielke pointed to the lack of diversity in the community as a possible contribu- tor to racism.
“When I got here, there were basically one or two African-American families,” Mielke said. “So it wasn’t really all that diversified a community. During the first few years I taught here, I never saw a face of color in any of my classes. Of course, any African-American student will talk about how they get followed extra-special at Wal-Mart or something like that. There’s more paranoia tied to their pres- ence.”
Junior Harry Cecil said he experiences prejudice occasionally in the community.
“In the community, I think it’s a prob- lem of ignorance,” Cecil said. “I’ve only had one bad experience at Wal-Mart. I asked someone where the Kool-Aid was, and he said, ‘Yeah, you people like red, don’t you?’ I pretty much ignored it.”
Senior Aesha Williams said that when she goes to stores, sometimes children stare at her when she walks by.
“They say, ‘Mommy, look, a black per- son,’ and one little boy and his sister were following me and my friend around the store,” Williams said. “It was more of a shock to them, I think. They have no idea. Kirksville doesn’t have a black popula- tion here, so all they see is black people on TV, and that’s not always a good por- trayal.”
Some black students said people are becoming more educated about racism, so signs of it may be more subtle now than in the past.
Senior Angela Ballard said minority students often are more aware of racism than other students.
“I think there’s a problem, but I think it’s hidden because I think people try to hide it,” Ballard said. “It’s something being a part of a minority population you can recognize without people saying things about other groups of people.”
Mielke also said racism in the commu-
nity is sometimes outright, but more often it is beneath the surface.
“You certainly hear some people using the n-word every now and then,” Mielke said. “I think that any kind of racism here is institutional and problems in general with multiculturalism. You want to include people, but if they’re different, you don’t like it, and they may not get as far in the system and be punished in other kinds of ways.”
Others in the community denied that racism exists in Kirskville. Charlie Donaldson, owner and operator of Donaldson’s, a local barbershop, said racism was not a problem in Kirksville.
“To me, there’s no problem with racial
“The minorities aren’t that bad,” he said. “There’s no problem around here — not in Kirksville. I don’t have much prob- lem with minorities because bad people are just as bad as minorities. Bad people are worse than minorities because minori- ties can be good unless they turn bad. They’re all right unless they get bad.”
Donaldson said most racism is created by minorities and the media as a way to receive attention.
“You can make some racial tension,” Donaldson said. “They’ll lie to you, make some, [because] everybody likes a good fight. That goes back to the O’Reilly spin zone. You spin it, and after a while, you try to make it smell worse. If you really want to sell papers and make [them] sell, you go after it.”
Segregation of the races is because of the simple laws of nature, Donaldson said.
“Birds of a feather flock together,” Donaldson said. “If you want to call that discrimination, that’s fine. If you see a bunch of colored people and they’re happy, you’re not going to go up to them, are you? You’re going to leave them alone. That’s what happens with animals. Just watch your cat and dog.”
Ethnic composition of Adair County (2002)
1 1 1 1 96 percent Asian percent Hispanic percent black percent other
Information from the Kirksville Department of Economic and Community Development Web site: http://www.kirksvillecity.com/ EconDevel/econ-devel.htm