The Young Black Leaders Association and Coretta Social Club hosted a panel discussion with MUW African-American alumni on Feb. 16 in Cochran Hall.
The purpose of “Black Space on a White Campus” is to create an outlet for W alumni to tell their experience as African-Americans on a previously segregated campus. The event organizers hoped the audience would gain a better understanding of what life was like for African-American students in the past.
“This decision mainly centered on African-American students in a way that links them together with former African-American students from the past,” said Tevin Arrington, a senior and communication major.
The discussion featured alumni from time periods dating back to the 1970s. Each discussed the climate and culture during their times on campus. The event was led by Tamara Rutledge, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies.
Panelists included Veronica Hampton-Harrison, a member of Coretta Social Club and student of the W in the fall of 1987; Dr. Robbie L. Fox, a graduate student from 1972 to 1973; Arelya Mitchell, one of the first students to integrate the dorms, a founder of the Coretta Social Club and first African-American to be on The Spectator staff; Iika Taylor McCarter, a W student in 1995; and Dr. Philip Cockrell, a student in 2003 and the first African-American to be president of the Student Government Association.
“This discussion is something great for the African-American community that is represented on this campus, and it gives us a chance to better understand our history,” said Toya McQueen, future president of Coretta Social Club.
The title of this event was influenced by Arrington, who, along with Rutledge and others, is currently working to rediscover the campus’ history during integration.
“‘Black Space on a White Campus’ represents the experiences of African-Americans at a predominantly white institution,” said Austin Rayford, president of Young Black Leaders Association.
Rayford said he believed that the title was very captivating and needed to be used again.