Tagged: uo black history

New Faces: Similar Challenges

Anetra Brown 2013, photo courtesy of Anetra Brown

This is the sixth of a series of blog posts highlighting the ongoing work of the Documenting UO History Project within the University Archives. A major part of this project is researching and documenting the often untold and hidden histories of the university’s diverse and underrepresented communities. This year our focus will continue to highlight Black history on campus, specifically Black student activism from the 1960s to present. Prior posts can be seen here.

“It was the first time I noticed that being a black woman was going to be different here (Eugene).”

–Anetra Brown

2015 Oregon graduate and Black Student Union member Anetra Brown has remained in Eugene since graduation and has stayed connected with the University of Oregon through organizations like the Black Alumni Network, a group that has helped Brown feel more at home in Eugene. Anetra came to Eugene in September of 2011 to run on the track and field team, but academics were always her primary focus. Brown was born in San Francisco and moved to Indianapolis when she was 10. Upon her arrival to Eugene, Oregon’s lack of racial diversity was glaring. Although she describes the community as friendly, Brown says the feeling of isolation was undeniable. Through a recent oral history interview with Anetra for this project, this post highlights her specific experience at the University of Oregon and explores her reasons for choosing to remain in Eugene after graduation.

Brown said, “Living in the dorms was not the best experience, because I had a hard time finding girls I could relate to. It was the first time I noticed that being a black woman was going to be different here. Even things like hair — when I straightened my hair or even not washing my hair every day – and having to explain to roommates why I did that. It was the first time in my life where I felt different. I felt like I had to explain each thing I did. Or even not trying to come off as too aggressive in fear of being portrayed as the ‘angry black girl.’”

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President Clark: Contentious Times

President Clark meeting with students 1970, University Photographs, UA Ref 3, Oregon Digital Archive

This is the fifth of a series of blog posts highlighting the ongoing work of the Documenting UO History Project within the University Archives. A major part of this project is researching and documenting the often untold and hidden histories of the university’s diverse and underrepresented communities. This year our focus will continue to highlight Black history on campus, specifically Black student activism from the 1960s to present. Prior posts can be seen here.

President Robert D. Clark began his tenure at Oregon in 1969 and remained president until 1975. As far as students were concerned, Clark had large shoes to fill as the replacement to President Flemming, who had been incredibly popular with students from all walks of life and who especially championed the rights of minority students. Fortunately for Oregon students, President Clark came into the job with a wealth of experience, and was known as a progressive administrator. Prior to his presidential tenure at the University of Oregon, Clark served as the President of San Jose State University from 1964 to 1969. Students and faculty appreciated Clark’s ardent defense of civil rights issues, which included his unwavering support of Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith. This post will explore Clark’s relationship with student activists in his first years at the University of Oregon.

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