Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience
the University of Arkansas
Charles F. Robinson II and Lonnie R. Williams
How African Americans at one university dealt with civil rights
valuable contribution to the history of American higher education,
Arkansas history, and general African American and civil rights
—Bobby L. Lovet, The Journal of Southern History,
extraordinary volume…. While abstract analysis of the
process of desegregation is valuable and necessary, this volume
serves as a powerful reminder that individual lives were always
at stake. These stories are frankly inspiring in their demonstration
of human resilience in the face of severe obstacles and in
the determination of so many to wrest as much good as possible
from their experiences and to claim the University of Arkansas
as their own."
—Melissa Kean, Rice University, in the Arkansas
Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012
Moving ... Remembrances in Black is far from the
usual institutional history, which retells a story of enlightened
administrators and diligent students moving ever onward and
upward. Instead, this book presents a searing, honest account
of university life by those so often at both the margins and
the center of attention..."
—Guy Lancaster in the Oral History Review,
of education are surely to be interested in an institutional
history that tracks the response of a southern post-secondary
institution to changing racial and social mores through oral
interviews with alumni..."
With the admittance in 1948 of Silas Hunt to the University
of Arkansas Law School, the university became the first southern
public institution of higher education to officially desegregate
without being required to do so by court order. The process
was difficult, but an important first step had been taken.
Other students would follow in Silas Hunt’s footsteps,
and they along with the university would have to grapple with
the situation. Remembrances in Black is an oral history that
gathers the personal stories of African Americans who worked
as faculty and staff and of students who studied at the state’s
These stories illustrate the anguish, struggle, and triumph
of individuals who had their lives indelibly marked by their
experiences at the school. Organized chronologically over
sixty years, this book illustrates how people of color navigated
both the evolving campus environment and that of the city
of Fayetteville in their attempt to fulfill personal aspirations.
Their stories demonstrate that the process of desegregation
proved painfully slow to those who chose to challenge the
forces of exclusion. Also, the remembrances question the extent
to which desegregation has been fully realized.
Charles F. Robinson II
is vice provost for diversity at the University of Arkansas
and the author of Dangerous
Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South (University
of Arkansas Press) and Forsaking All Others.
Lonnie R. Williams
is associate vice chancellor for student affairs at Arkansas
State University, Jonesboro. Previously he served for thirteen
years as the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs
at the University of Arkansas.
7 x 10, 360 pages
$45.00 (s) cloth