“The World of Henry Billups: Jim Crow at the College of William and Mary” Exhibit

“The World of Henry Billups: Jim Crow at the College of William and Mary” Exhibit
Colleges In Virginia
Image by Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library
Shown here is an image from the exhibit "The World of Henry Billups: Jim Crow at the College of William and Mary," on display in the third floor rotunda gallery of Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. The exhibit was curated by students in Jody Allen’s "World of Henry Billups" class and the Special Collections Research Center staff. The exhibit will be on display from April 28-November 7, 2011.

The following is taken from the label text presented in this case:

Creating a Space: Black Student Organizations in the Post-Jim Crow Era was curated by Jerome Carter, Sebastian Kreindel, Andrew Ojeda, and Blair Smith.

Speaking of Black…, The Black Student Organization, Student Organizations Collection, April 1977.

The newsletter presented in this case entitled Speaking of Black… was published in 1977 by the Black Student Organization (B.S.O.). Dr. Warren Buck founded the B.S.O. in 1969 for the purpose of raising awareness about African-Americans at the College of William & Mary and offering assistance to blacks adjusting to student life. Through the newsletter the B.S.O. attempted to provide a voice for African-American students whom often felt isolated in a community lacking diversity. The student published document also discussed black issues on campus and the role of black students within the college, including an editorial by Isiah Parnell expressing his opinions regarding the potential success of the B.S.O. The printing of the names of incoming black freshmen in the newsletter, further demonstrated the B.S.O.’s effort to create a positive and supportive community for black students. This newsletter sheds light on black student life at William and Mary during the 1970’s.

Pamphlets and Booklets from Black Student Groups

These additional documents, from a few black student groups, demonstrate the involvement of African-Americans in campus organizations and their attempt to encourage potential black students to attend William & Mary. Each pamphlet or booklet provides a unique view of black student organizations at the College, emphasizing their efforts to recruit black students.

Involved: Black Student Organization, The Black Student Organization, Student Organizations Collection, circa 1970s.

Law Study…at William and Mary, The Black American Law Students Association Inc.: Marshall-Wythe Chapter, Student Organizations Collection, circa 1970s.

The Changing Scene at the College of William and Mary, The Black Student Organization, Student Organizations Collection, circa 1970s.

Creating A Space: Black Student Organizations in the Post-Jim Crow Era

In the late 1970s there were African American women at the College of William & Mary who felt that their needs were not being met; in response, Mu Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was chartered on February 7, 1976. The charter members are pictured here.

Scrapbook pages, Reproduction of original owned by Mu Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, 1982.
Colonial Echo, 1976.
News Clippings, “Students—Minorities” in University Archives Subject File Collection, 1976, 1986, 1988.

During the 1973-1974 school year, efforts were made to charter an African American fraternity at the College of William & Mary. The next year Willie G. Wedd-Walton (an undergraduate), working with Brother Wendell T. Foster, of the Beta Gamma Lambda Graduate Chapter in Richmond, paved the way to charter the Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on campus. The College, initially hesitant to allow an African American fraternity on campus, was persuaded by the advocacy of Sam Sadler, Vice President for Student Affairs. On Saturday, May 31, 1975, the Kappa Pi Chapter was chartered and the light of Alpha was brought to the College of William & Mary. Since that day, Kappa Pi has provided a refuge and support system for its members and the College’s African American community.

Brother William (Bill) Lorenzo Jackson, Jr.’s Alpha Shield, Spring 1975.

Loan of Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at the National Convention in Atlanta, 1977.
Reproduction courtesy of Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

"To the youths who march onward and upward towards the light this volume is respectfully dedicated." Dedication in A Development in College Life: The History of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by Charles H. Wesley, Ph.D. (1925; 2000 edition).

The Alpha Phi Alpha photograph collage was created by curator Jerome Carter ’12.

The Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Charter, 1975.

The Charter Line was called Ila A Koko
Bro. Timothy Ernest Allmond, Jr.
Bro. Nathaniel Adeoluwa Folarin
Bro. William Lorenzo Jackson, Jr.
Bro. Sheldon Jerome Johnson
Bro. John Oscar Little, Jr.
Bro. Adeyemo Folusho Olanrewaju
Bro. Ronald Harvey Smoot
Bro. Willie George Webb-Walton

Reproduction courtesy of Kappa Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Alpha Chapter’s Charter, circa 1930s.

The Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was founded on Tuesday, December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. This is a replacement of Alpha chapter’s original charter, since the original charter was misplaced. This charter was created in the 1930’s.

Reproduction courtesy of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

In 1975 forty-seven of the eighty minority students at the College of William & Mary were surveyed to get their opinions regarding the College – faculty, administration, other students – and its treatment of minority students. The responses to these questions are shown here. This report, composed by Leroy Moore, head of the Office of Minority Student Affairs, presents the “very depressing” statistical evidence of discontent and mistreatment of minority students at the College. Indeed, the results showed that students felt that they were unwanted by the community, treated unfairly by faculty, and subjected to an insensitive administration. Tellingly, “74% of the respondents would not return, if given the opportunity”. Ultimately with help from the Office of Minority Student Affairs, and collaborations of student groups such as the Black Student Organization with the President of the College at the time, Thomas A. Graves, Jr., progress was made toward bettering the experience of the College’s minority students.
Survey Report, Office of Minority Student Affairs, 1975.

From the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. See swem.wm.edu/scrc/ for further information and assistance.