August 10, 2020

Righting Historical Injustices

During the early to mid-20th century, when racial inequality was socially acceptable in this country, policies at West Chester State Teachers College denied African American students on-campus housing, dining room privileges, and other opportunities.Summer issue of WCU Magazine

This spring, Lawrence A. Dowdy, ’73, M’80, retired executive deputy to the WCU president and governmental relations officer, prepared an historical summary of injustices suffered by those students. In “Denied and Segregated Campus Housing and Other Inequities: African American West Chester University Alumni Stories,” he wrote about West Chester’s shameful practices but also about dignified individuals who persevered.

Noted Dowdy, “While black students were subjected to many institutional acts of discrimination, … most were triumphant in overcoming these inequalities and excelled in their professions. Many of the alums attributed this accomplishment to the bonds they formed with their black classmates and the high quality of education they received at West Chester.”

On Feb. 20, 2008, then-president Madeleine Wing Adler issued an institutional apology to all living African American graduates during a “Reaffirmation of Civility and Equality.” More than 300 attended, including nearly 30 black alumni from the classes of 1939 through 1959. C. James Trotman, emeritus professor of English, chronicled the proceedings and the resulting document is posted on WCU’s website here .

Read more in the summer issue of The WCU Magazine.

Geneva Bost '36 & Littleton Mitchell '48






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