Duke University Alumni Magazine

Please limit letters to no more than 300 words. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Include full name, address, and class year. Our fax number is (919) 684-6022 and our internet address --for Forum and class notes only--is: dukemag@acpub.duke.edu


     Catching up on reading sitting-about magazines, I am belatedly reacting to the May- June 1996 issue. I was delighted to see how successful the M.B.A. program has become, since my master's was in economics before the program was offered.

     Then a turnabout came as I read a letter from a 1978 product of the Fuqua school. Despite his pretentious vocabulary (Do they still teach Strunk?), he shows a lack of intellectual discrimination. He equates World War II and Vietnam, As one whose period was the former, I am astounded. I hope the school will attempt to teach not only facts but that difficult ability to reason.

     My chief objection to the letter, however, was its tone. I think your magazine should have a strict policy of not printing any letter in which the first paragraph contains five or more derogatory adjectives.

Kay Dunkelberger Hart '43, A.M. '50
Weston, Connecticut


     How delighted we were to read in your September-October issue [in "Quad Quotes"] that at least one of your freshmen is marveling that his or her professors are so "honest and open" as to ask students to address them on a first-name basis. And then to learn that this same freshman had the opportunity to watch one of those professors do a nude dance certainly caused us to realize so clearly that Duke University is a so much greater institution than it was when we attended in the Forties.

     It is too bad that the Dukes cannot return to Earth to take charge of their creation in Durham. I believe that they would take down every stone and return them to the quarry, leaving only enough for you all to crawl under.

     For the Lord's sake, do not send Jean and me any more copies of your magazine. Both of us already are on medication for blood pressure problems, and we don't need your regular infusion of tripe.
    You are absolutely pathetic.

Thomas S. Harrington'48
Eden, North Carolina

     I have always prided myself on my and my family's (wife, brother-in-law, and three children) connection and ties to this university. I must say that that pride has been lessened by this account in Duke Magazine.

     I realize that I am of the "old school" and probably a bit of a prude. However, I can't imagine that the actions of said "professor" (term used loosely) in any way would enhance the respect shown by any generation of students.

Mel Berlin'49, M,D.'53
Durham, North Carolina

     The dance was one of a half-dozen events, including music, drama, and art exhibitions, that the student viewed as part of her "Arts in Contemporary Society" Focus program, which is geared to the interests of arts-oriented freshmen. As an exploration of gender-based issues, the piece makes use of nudity toward the end -- and it does so in a may that is artistically important and has no lewd or erotic effect or purpose. The piece has been performed in the Southeast by a two-member dance company that has received grants from state and local arts councils.


     In the September-October Duke Magazine, Scott Ellsworth A.M. '77, Ph,D. '82 presents a fascinating account of an early chapter in the yet unwritten history of racial integration at Duke: an interracial basketball game in 1944 which took place clandestinely at North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University).

     In 1952, three events occurred in which African Americans and whites were integrated into the Duke campus itself -- significant follow-up steps to the 1944 basketball game. Although almost eight years had elapsed between the 1944 and 1952 events, Duke continued firmly segregated with a reputation for conservatism in its administration and student body, especially in comparison with UNC, which had begun admitting black students to its graduate school and where a campus Presbyterian minister, Charley Jones, had a national reputation as a critic of Southern segregation.

     Nevertheless, at Duke, a little-known organization, the Intercollegiate Council (ICC), was engaged in promoting interracial understanding. When we first came to Duke in 1949, ICC already existed, but avoided publicity and was protected under the umbrella of the Methodist Student Fellowship, which at the time was the largest and most active student organization on campus. ICC brought together a small group of interested students from Duke, UNC, and North Carolina College. We do not know when or how ICC had originated except that Charley Jones played a major role in its establishment. Among its eight or nine meetings each year, a folk dance was held, usually at North Carolina College. In the racist and segregated environment of the period, such "social mixing" represented the extreme of unacceptable behavior.

     In 1952, when we were officers of ICC, the group decided to hold its annual folk dance on East Campus in East Duke Building. Although the usual discretion prevailed, a columnist in the student Chronicle, Virginia Roseborough, broke the story by writing that Duke was finally waking up: An interracial folk dance had taken place on East Campus. A week later, the university chaplain summoned the ICC president to his office. The conversation w'as friendly, but the chaplain complained that "Negroes had been strutting" on East Campus after dark and asked for the names of Duke girls who had participated, citing unnamed authorities who wanted their names. The ICC president offered to provide any information except the names of the girls. Shortly afterwards, he tweak the initiative in discussing the matter with Hollis Edens, then president of Duke. Evens was cordial and explained that he wanted to know the facts in case trustees or other university officers might have read the article and sought an explanation. The girls' names were never given, and the precedent of an interracial dance on East Campus was established.

     Again in 1952, Duke members of ICC invited a group of students and faculty from North Carolina College to attend Duke Chapel. At the time, no African Americans had ever attended the chapel's regular Sunday service. ICC notified James Cleland, dean of the chapel, that a group planned to attend, and he expressed support. The desegregation of Duke Chapel occurred without difficulty or publicity, establishing another interracial precedent.

     A much more publicized event occurred the same year when a racially mixed basketball team played for the first time in the South in what is now Cameron Indoor Stadium. Since all college teams in the South were either black or white, Northern teams did not normally play in the South. Temple University was scheduled to play at Duke, and it was revealed that its team had an African-American player, a fact which both the Duke and Durham press highlighted in advance of the game. When the Washington Duke Hotel refused to house the player and he had to stay in the local black community, Duke students demonstrated in a protest march in downtown Durham. Coach Hal Bradley of Duke told his team to act normal and when the Temple player, a second stringer, came off the bench, the spectator applauded him warmly. Another "First" had happened in integration on Duke campus this time in basketball. Needless to say, many African Americans have performed with distinction at Duke since that time.

Thomas G. Sanders '52
Asheville, North Carolina

Mary Elder Lasher '53
Greenville, South Carolina

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