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Berea College and Interracial Education: The First 150 Years: Stages Three and Four

Essay by Andrew Baskin, Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and General Studies

Stage Three: An All White Institution and Stage Four: The Return

Berea College and Interracial Education: The First 150 Years - GSTR 210

Jessie Zander

Table of Contents

  1. The Third Stage: An All white institution

From 1908 to 1950, the third stage, only White students from the Southern Appalachian region were educated at Berea College. However, efforts were made to continue and enhance contact between the races. William J. Hutchins, the fourth president, annually scheduled one important Negro speaker or musical aggregation. In 1940, Francis Hutchins, the fifth president and William’s son, initiated a series of interracial conferences and summer programs for Berea students to meet and interact with Negro college students (Peck and Smith 48).28 In 1950, Jesse H. Lawrence, the only black representative in the General Assembly of Kentucky, introduced an amendment to the Day law “to allow the co-education of white and Negro students in public or private schools above the high school level…provided an equal, complete and accredited course is not available at the Kentucky State College for Negroes” (Peck and Smith 60).29 In the fall of 1950, Berea College re-opened its doors to Black students and initiated the fourth stage of the school's history.

  1. The Fourth Stage: The Return

Educating White students from the Southern Appalachian region remained the focus during the fourth stage. However, in 1950, the Board of Trustees “empowered the administration ‘to admit such negro (sic) students from within the mountain region whom it finds thoroughly qualified, coming completely within provisions of the Kentucky law, and whom in its judgment it appears we should serve’ ” (Peck and Smith 61).30 As a result, until the end of the 1960’s, the number of Black students increased very slowly. In the opinion of Peck and Smith, the low number was caused by “the small number of Negro residents in the southern mountains; the poorer educational opportunities for Negroes in elementary and secondary work; and Berea’s policy of admitting Negro applicants most likely to do college work well” (61).31 Subsequent events forced change upon the institution.

On November 26, 1967, 18 Black students submitted a petition which stated: “We, the Black Students of Berea College, are in support of the initiation [sic] of a Negro History course in the academic curriculum on this campus.” 32 This event marked the end of the fourth stage and the initiation of the fifth stage.

Works Cited - stages three and four

(Complete Works Cited List available)

28Peck and Smith, 48. 378.7691 P366b 1982

29Peck and Smith, 60. 378.7691 P366b 1982

30Peck and Smith, 61. 378.7691 P366b 1982

31Peck and Smith, 61. 378.7691 P366b 1982

32Black Student Petition.

PDF of the complete essay