Blacks Reject Cultural White-Wash

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Blacks Reject Cultural White-Wash


Blacks Reject Cultural White-Wash

By: Kermit Dance

Note: This article has been accepted as official policy by the campus Black Students Organization.

Much of the college community has a misconception about the college’s racial situation. Most white administrative officials, many faculty members and many white students are of the opinion that the college is making substantial progress in eliminating the effects of past discriminatory practices. This attitude was recently dramatized by the college’s negative response to the recommendations of HEW. The BSO readily concedes that steps have been taken in the right direction. However, we more strongly assert that there is a wide and dangerous gap between the college as it is and as the college should be. Failure to bridge the gap with good faith and deliberate speed will serve only to nourish current racial tensions – tensions which have the potential of evolving into major racial disturbances.

The College as It Is

William and Mary is currently in a deplorable state of racial imbalance. It has a student enrollment of approximately four thousand. Of this number only 1 percent is Black (the remainder is non-black). The college employs one part-time black-administrative official and no black faculty members. The situation becomes even more disgusting when one considers the fact that this is a state-supported institution. According to the latest census, the state is 40% black. For too long Black Virginians have been supporting a racist educational system—an institution which is ineffectively serving the educational needs of only 1% of their sons and daughters.
In the Black community, William and Mary is still regarded as a college for whites only – a college which seeks to register just enough Blacks to satisfy the requirements of the federal government and it is a result of this reputation that the college is considered by few Blacks in their search for a place to further their education.
The present system is nothing less than a contemporary sophisticated form of slavery. It is a system which is rather successful in strengthening the identity of its white students. For Blacks, however, this is not the case. Constantly we are indoctrinated with white ideas, white culture, white customs, white history, white art, white desires and white social habits. This indoctrination is oppressive to our Blackness. It is an attempt (partially successful) to gain control over our minds, to “white wash” our minds, and to transform beautiful Black people into dark pigmented white people.

The Ultimate Goal

Those of us in the movement are working for the total integration of the system. We envision the day when special efforts to recruit Black students will not be necessary. However, Black students attending a white school does not define racial integration. The present system must be “blackenized.” In addition to the integration of Black and White bodies, there must be a complete integration of Black and White ideas, Black and White cultures. The system must adapt itself to fulfill the educational needs of Blacks in much the same way that it presently does for Whites.


The goal is by no means idealistic. However, in order to realize this goal, we strongly advocate revolution—for revolution is nothing but change. And there must be a concerted effort on the part of the entire college community to bring about the realization of this change. We assert that it is pertinent that the following be done in achieving this end:
1. Efforts should be increased in recruiting black students. We feel that the admission standards need not be lowered. There are already enough “qualified” Blacks who cannot meet William and Mary admission requirements. However, the college should make a special effort to contact these students.
2. Special efforts should be made in hiring Black faculty members.
3. Courses in Black studies should be added to the current curriculum. Such courses include Afro-American literature, history, and art.
4. A foreign exchange program with African universities should be implemented.
5. There should be efforts made to completely integrate the administration and the staff of the college.
6. The college should make efforts to bring Black speakers to the college lecture circuit.
7. Funds should be made available for a permanent Afro-American center.
The college definitely has a racial problem, but we assert that this is not a Black problem. Whites currently control the system; whites created the problem and whites will have to take a significant role in achieving its solution. For this reason, we call upon all segments of the college community to join us in assuring the success of the movement.


Swem Special Collections


20 October 1970


William and Mary Flat Hat


20 October 1970


Ka'myia Gunn, metadata and transcription




Swem Special Collections, “Blacks Reject Cultural White-Wash,” The Lemon Project, accessed September 15, 2019,

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