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Black Student Union: Black Studies to Start (11/1970)

The history of Ferrum Colleges Black Student Union.

The Iron Blade Vols. 11-16 Fall 1965- Spring 1971

Vol.16 #1 (Nov. 1, 1970) Page 3 “Black Studies To Start”  by Pat Johnson

For the first time in the history of Ferrum Junior College a black studies course, The Negro Experience in the United States, will be taught. The class will begin in the spring quarter. This course was suggested to be started this year by Dr. C. Ralph Arthur, President of the college. Planning on the program got underway in July of 1970. Mr. Ennis H. Coale is supervising the course. He is receiving help from many other interested faculty members also.

The purpose of the course said Mr. Coale is “to help white students understand the black heritance and life style and to help black students find some identity. To help both groups see opportunities open in the future.” Hopefully this course will also give black students more voice, help to identify prejudice and racism both individual and institutional, and assess realistic and contemporary choices. It is also hoped that this will make up for the past neglect in this field.

Approximately $1,000 worth of materials and books has connection with this course. Among these materials are: The Negro Almanac, The History of Slavery in Virginia, Negro Athletics, Malcolm Speaks, 30 Years of Lynching in U.S. This course will not be concerned with one specific opinion of Black history but will cover: The Middle Passage, history of slavery, Emancipation, Civil Rights Movement, Art, African and Afro-American, Music, Literature, Region, Black Scientist, The Negro in Education, and the Negro in Athletics. Because of lack of accommodations this course will be open to sophomores.

It will be a regular three-hour course but no specific textbook will be used. Many different speakers asked to comment on different topics concerning black history. In March of 1969 Linda Edwards along with Mr. Coale drew up a petition calling for a black studies program. Due credit should be given to her for having influenced the creation of this program.