Journeys in Blackness: 50 Years of Integration
In September of 2012, Guilford College began a yearlong celebration commemorating the admission of its first Black undergraduate students, celebrating the legacy of Black achievement and culture, and continuing the reconciling practices in support of positive campus-wide race relations.
The celebration will honor those students who were among the first to integrate Guilford College and the community members, faculty, staff, and administrators involved in desegregating the college. The various events will serve as a platform to observe the many “Journeys in Blackness” throughout the past. The phrase “Journeys in Blackness” was coined in the 1970’s by students who founded Brothers and Sister in Blackness (BASIB), the first black student organization on campus, now named Blacks Unifying Society (BUS). “Journeys in Blackness” is taken from “Journey into Blackness,” the title given to programming that lasted from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in January through February, Black History Month. During and after this year’s “Journey,” members of the College community will be reflecting upon and creating action steps for reconciliation and next steps for the Guilford College Black community.
In August 1962, James McCorkle, a Winston-Salem, NC native, was admitted as the first African-American student to attend Guilford College. In that same year, two Kenyan students also enrolled at the college. Two hundred forty five (245) Black students who enrolled between 1962 and 1977 succeeded them. Of those 245, thirty-three (33) Black students graduated. During that time, from 1970-1988, the first Black faculty member, James McMillan, taught in the Art Department which is also a significant milestone in our collective history. We will honor those Black students who integrated Guilford College and will lift up the stories of these students, faculty, and staff who were trailblazers during such a pivotal moment in Guilford and United States history.
We will celebrate the milestones of Black alumni and recognize the accomplishments of Black students at Guilford College. We also celebrate the global connectedness of the Black Diaspora shared on Guilford’s campus throughout the last fifty years.
We will use community dialogue, stories from alumni, and testimonies from current faculty, staff and administrators to recommend next steps to the Diversity Action Committee, towards continuing to create an all-inclusive and affirming experience for students at Guilford College.