Colette Crum-Coates and Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, April 5, 2021

Dublin Core

Title

Colette Crum-Coates and Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, April 5, 2021

Subject

African American college students

Description

From Harlem, NY, Natalie Francis '73 and Colette Crum '73 attended St. Michael Academy High School in preparation for attending college. Both received scholarships to attend Muhlenberg College. Together, they talk about the social, academic, and political challenges of being Black students attending Muhlenberg from 1969 to 1973.

Date

2021-04-05

Format

video

Identifier

MCA_05

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Samantha Brenner
Susan Falciani Maldonado
Kate Ranieri
Hailey Petrus

Interviewee

Colette Crum-Coates
Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson

Duration

01:38:02

OHMS Object Text

5.4 April 5th, 2021 Colette Crum-Coates and Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, April 5, 2021 MCA_05 01:38:03 MCA-D History of Diversity and Inclusion at Muhlenberg College Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository African American college students Colette Crum-Coates Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson Samantha Brenner Susan Falciani Maldonado Kate Ranieri Hailey Petrus video/mp4 CoatesJackson_20210405_edited.mp4 1:|19(11)|35(6)|65(11)|101(9)|122(10)|134(10)|149(1)|161(3)|182(12)|200(13)|223(5)|251(12)|283(3)|297(9)|315(8)|344(10)|367(9)|381(11)|405(3)|424(4)|439(6)|452(13)|469(11)|488(6)|507(9)|525(8)|538(15)|554(8)|571(9)|584(10)|602(12)|627(14)|652(1)|668(4)|685(7)|699(7)|714(1)|728(6)|742(1)|757(1)|769(1)|783(3)|813(10)|833(12)|851(9)|874(2)|900(10)|917(10)|934(2)|945(5)|976(11)|991(7)|1008(3)|1028(9)|1044(9)|1057(13)|1073(5)|1089(11)|1115(6)|1128(9)|1145(12)|1158(7)|1174(6)|1188(13)|1206(4)|1218(8)|1231(14)|1260(4)|1281(7)|1298(4)|1327(14)|1345(15)|1381(3)|1411(4)|1428(3)|1444(11)|1469(2)|1483(2)|1507(9)|1534(15)|1554(2)|1572(8)|1587(16)|1599(2)|1614(7)|1629(4)|1646(6)|1665(5)|1684(16)|1704(9)|1717(1)|1729(2)|1749(9)|1767(8)|1777(16)|1793(8)|1815(2) 0 https://youtu.be/e5Bbr7D1n8Y YouTube video English 227 Introduction Samantha Brenner: So I am Samantha Brenner and I'm here with Natalie and Colette to talk about your, your lives as students when you were at Muhlenberg College. This interview is for an, it's for an oral history project as part of the history of diversity and inclusion project. Natalie and Colette, thank you for your willingness to speak with me. Can you please state your full name and graduation date? Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson: Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, June 1973 Colette Crum-Coates: Colette Crum-Coates June 1973. Class of 1973 ; Colette Crumb Coates ; History of Diversity and Inclusion Project ; Muhlenberg College ; Natalie Francis Shannon Jackson 794 Early Experiences at Muhlenberg Little did we know, little did we know the level of preparation that students had who came to Muhlenberg was really-- they had access to textbooks that we didn't have access to.They had access to math classes that we didn't have access to. So even though we were, quote-unquote, we were--we were, I felt, “prepared educationally,” we were not prepared because we did not have access to the texts that these students had. They had some of the text of the speeches we're using in class. So they were just like reviewing work while we were reading information for the first time. And we had to challenge ourselves. And to talk in class. And, you know, and it was many times very challenging because they didn't recognize our point of view or many times we would write a paper or someone write a similar paper, and we were always, they would just give us a C, point blank, say C, C, C-minus, C, you can never get a B or an A. So that was the way Muhlenberg used to deal with us. Um, [unclear] and I know, Educational Preparation Inequities ; George Gibbs ; Intimidation ; Microaggressions ; Oppression ; Perserverance ; Prejudice 1838 Changes at Muhlenberg I don't know if Natalie remembers this, we were in a class and a teacher said, draw a mouse. You remember that Natalie? [LAUGHTER] CCC: Draw a mouse. And me and Natalie drew-- NFSJ: We really came from the ghetto, we really came-- CCC: We yeah, we drew a mouse, you know, like a mouse. And everybody else drew like Mickey Mouse and, you know, all that kind of stuff. But our mouse really looked like a mouse. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And so I remember him saying the reason he did it. He wanted to show that your environment, that you know, your environment, where you're raised affects your, you know, how-- the way you see the world. We didn’t see the world like Mickey Mouse. That's not the mice that we were accustomed to seeing. So that was the type of thing like that. So. Acceptance in Social Life ; Coed Dorms ; Curfews 3545 How can Muhlenberg provide help to students coming from under-resourced schools? So my question is, what do you think that along with like the program that we have, what do you think that Muhlenberg could maybe provide to help students that come from like under-resourced schools? So because, I know you mentioned like the lack of textbooks, a lack of like math classes. And I also came from school like that. So I did struggle a bit acclimating to like, I guess, college level courses. So is there anything that you know of or you would think of that Muhlenberg could provide to help under-resourced students coming in? NFSJ: It's-- I think it's really the schools themselves because it's so different, like schools in different areas who taught-- whose target these students to come to, like Muhlenberg. Muhlenberg is considered like one of the best small schools in the country. So, you know, to get into Muhlenberg, people who get into Muhlenberg come from schools-- come really prepared to go to college. So they've had more pre-college or what you call a pre-- pre-college course. Like my nephew took a lot of pre-college-- completely different. My nephew lived in the suburbs. He had pre-college course. He was one of those people we didn't have pre-college, where you take the college classes, so college for him was very fun, you know, it wasn't like-- it wasn't like really like I was like. 3722 Academic support from professors and the college CCC: And then too when I went to Muhlenberg, there were some professors that were really helpful. Like I took, like I said, I took finite math. And I just couldn't pass that stupid finite math. So I dropped out. Got me a tutor during the summer, went through the book with a tutor and came back in September and they changed the course, changed the book, and here I was just lost. And I was sitting in class and I would sit there and it would seem like the teacher was saying blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I would say, “Oh, I got it.” And then somebody would raise their hand and go, “But couldn't you also do blah, blah, blah and minus so-and-so da-da-da. And then I would be like [sound like blowing up] because then it would be all gone. So I went to the professor and I think this was what a lot of students have to do if you got halfway decent professors. You know, you have to just go to the professor and say, “Hey, you know, I just don't-- I'm having trouble with this.” And the professor had me come to his office every day at seven o'clock in the morning and sit there and go through the coursework. And then I didn't have to go to class because I just needed that little bit of extra help. And he got me through it. And then when the final came, and I ran to him and said, “Did I pass? Did I pass?” And he said, “Child, anybody that would come to my class at seven-thirty every morning..There is no way you have to-- you going to fail so don't even sweat that.” 4048 Other classes at Muhlenberg NFSJ: That's the most important thing, because the most important thing is if you ever feel like, you know, you have a class that is really difficult, I think what I did like, I had to take a science course-- one thing I did, and this botany was killer. So I would read the book, remember Colette. I would read the book before class. CCC: She was my roommate then, I remember-- NFSJ: Come back home. 4304 Privilege at Muhlenberg But one thing I found out at Muhlenberg, some of those people that had a lot of money, they cheated. They cheated their way through Muhlenberg. They got tests and stuff and they cheated. And I didn't know that. So like my senior year, some of those people just cheated, you know? And I'm quite sure that's not a, what do you call it, a shock to Muhlenberg faculty here. But, you know, they had money and stuff and they, they were able to get things. And I was like, stunned because we didn't do that stuff. We really went by studying, get it. You know, they had money, buy it and they get the answers and all kinds of stuff. And I found that out the last year year I was there. A lot of people in those fraternities and stuff. 4354 Muhlenberg's Lambda Chi CCC: But the best fraternity on that campus was what, Natalie? NFSJ: What was it? CCC: Lambda Chi. NFSJ: Lambda Chi, yeah Lambda Chi. Is Lambda Chi still there? [SHAKING HEAD NO] NFSJ: It's not? CCC: No! NFSJ: What happened to Lambda Chi? CCC: Well, I don't doubt, I don't doubt it. NFSJ: It was Animal House. That was the Animal House. 4430 Being in the EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) SB: Yeah, I guess just circling back to being in the EOP and just being in that program, I guess just what was it like being in this program within your grade? Like, did the students talk about it with you? Like how-- what was it like being in the program? NFSJ: Like what? CCC: I think we, we basically were all coming like-- I think we were all coming like that, like Natalie was saying, like they brought students from all over and were like, oh, yeah. I think Muhlenberg and Mr. Gibbs actually had-- had wanted to bring Black students into the school, you know, wanted to have some diversity in school. But I think they kind of really didn’t know exactly what they were doing. It kinda was like they were trying it, it was like an experiment and it was-- but I think it was maybe more than they bit off, I don't know. Or maybe it was the people that came. Independent Students ; Mr. Gibbs ; Soul-less Campus Life ; Student Activism 5250 Concluding Remarks SFM: So that--that is the universe telling us that our hour and a half here was good for our first-- our first visit. Kate, were you going to add something? KLR: No, I was just going-- yes, I was going to say you're more than welcome, we would welcome you with open arms if you would ever consider coming to Muhlenberg. I think it would be fun for you to actually be in the presence of the Black house. I think Hailey would-- can I say that maybe they could attend a BSA meeting or we could have an impromptu gathering? I think we would love that, you know, just I really think it's important for so many of the things that you said resonate, as Hailey has said, and the things that you see, that not much has changed, you know, in some respects. Some things have. But still, anyway. NFSJ: Yeah, and it's important to know that people have gone that way and how to navigate those things. 5411 Advice for Future Students of Color HP: I think the last thing we kind of just wanted to ask was, was there anything that you all wanted to say to either-- something that you want to see for future students of color at Muhlenberg or just any advice you have for students in general that are here at Muhlenberg. I think I was kind of like our last question. NFSJ: Take advantage of your education. I mean, it's a great education. It's a great school. I think that it prepares you well for the world. I mean, you really come, come out-- you, you really you can stand with anyone, you know, with your education from Muhlenberg. You know, you, you have to have confidence that you know, you are you know, you really know you're well-prepared. You'll be well prepared to handle whoever you meet, to hold a conversation, to think critically, you know, and to, you know-- I have and, you know-- you'll know how to learn and solve problems because I think of the situation you've been in and also the education you you've had to gain from that situation. You're well prepared to deal with all kinds of problems and solve them positively if you make it out. You know, with positive attitude, you'll be a real plus to society. I think it's a great place to, even though it's not easy, but it's an important place to make a foundation for your higher education. MovingImage From Harlem, NY, Natalie Francis '73 and Colette Crum '73 attended St. Michael Academy High School in preparation for attending college. Both received scholarships to attend Muhlenberg College. Together, they talk about the social, academic, and political challenges of being Black students attending Muhlenberg from 1969 to 1973. Colette Crum-Coates, 1973. From Harlem, NY, Colette attended St. Michael Academy High School in preparation for attending a college in the state. Not satisfied with the school’s expectations to become a secretary or nurse, she and her parents chose the academic path with the offer of a full scholarship to Muhlenberg. On campus, Colette encountered but overcame both academic and social challenges to successfully graduate in 1973. Natalie Francis Shannon Jackson &amp ; Colette Crum-Coates April 5th, 2021 HAILEY PETRUS: My name is Hailey Petrus, and I am here with Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson and Colette Crum-Coates to talk about their experiences at Muhlenberg College. Our goal is to collect oral histories of people&#039 ; s unique experiences during their years as a student to preserve the information for future generations to access. The oral histories are an integral part of our course to history of diversity and inclusion at Muhlenberg College. We are meeting on Zoom on Monday, April 5th, 2021. SAMANTHA BRENNER::Thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start, can you both please state your full name and spell it for me? Natalie. NATALIE FRANCIS SHANNON-JACKSON: Natalie, N-a-t-a-l-i-e. Francis. F-r-a-n-c-i-s. Shannon S.-h-a-n-n-o-n. And then Jackson. J-a-c-k-s-o-n. COLETTE CRUM-COATES: And Colette. C -o-l-e-t-t-e. Crum. C-r-u-m. - Coates. C-o-a-t-e-s. SB: Will you please share the year you both graduated from Muhlenberg. NFSJ: 1973. CCC: 1973. SB: This interview is expected to involve no more than minimal risks of answering questions about the past. You may become bored, tired or frustrated during the interview. Some questions may make you feel uncomfortable in recounting the past. There may be risks of emotional impact. There is no obligation to answer any question. If, after participating in this study, you have experienced any mental anguish or other concerns, please contact your personal medical expert or contact the National Alliance on Mental Health, a free and confidential resource by calling one 800 950 N-A-M-I or emailing at info at N-A-M-I.org. The N-A-M-I helpline can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to eight p.m. Eastern Time. Please be mindful that if you use the names of individuals other than yourself, you might be violating their privacy. Instead, please try to refer to individuals as my friend or my coworker. Should you accidentally verbalize the individual&#039 ; s name, we will edit out that tiny portion of the recording. HP: OK, so now we&#039 ; re going to do the consent, I guess, if you agree to what I ask you can just say yes and then, yeah. So have you read the consent that was mailed or emailed to you? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: OK. Did you sign and return the consent? NFSJ: Not yet. CCC: Um, Not yet. I&#039 ; ve read it, but I was just talking to Susan. She told me to scan it and sign it. NFSJ: I&#039 ; ll sign and scan it this evening. HP: OK, no problem. Do you consent to this interview today? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: OK. Do you consent to having this interview transcribed, digitized and made publicly available online in searchable formats? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: Do you consent to having this interview be stored in the archives of Muhlenberg College? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: Do you consent to Muhlenberg College and researchers using your interview for educational purposes in other formats, including films, articles, websites, presentations and other formats? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: And do you understand that you are not receiving any monetary compensation for your time today and you are not required to participate by Muhlenberg College? NFSJ: Yes. CCC: Yes. HP: OK, that&#039 ; s all. SB: So, I guess now we&#039 ; re going to start the questions portion, um, which is a little repetitive. So I am Samantha Brenner and I&#039 ; m here with Natalie and Colette to talk about your, your lives as students when you were at Muhlenberg College. This interview is for an, it&#039 ; s for an oral history project as part of the history of diversity and inclusion project. Natalie and Colette, thank you for your willingness to speak with me. Can you please state your full name and graduation today? NFSJ: Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, June 1973 CCC: Colette Crum-Coates June 1973. SB: I&#039 ; d like to turn to your early life and ask you how you became interested and sought out the college experience. What were your major influences and how did you know you wanted to attend Muhlenberg College? NFSJ: Well, I . . . CCC: I had no intentions of going. Go ahead, Natalie. Go, Natalie. NFSJ: You want me to start? Then we listen to you. CCC: No, go ahead. Start. NFSJ: OK. OK, so college had always been on my radar. We were-- we both attended the same high school, St. Michael Academy High School, was an academic Catholic high school in New York City. Both our parents, our fathers are postmen and very educationally-focused. And, as a matter of fact, like I made my-- one of my major influences was my father, because he wanted to complete college but wasn&#039 ; t able to because of family-- family situations. You know, he had to stop, drop out of college and return home and take care of his family. But he instilled a desire for all of his children to go to college. And, you know, he really worked very hard for us to be able to go there. So one thing that influenced me at that time, we lived in Harlem and where we lived-- We were very close to 125th Street. And at that time, Malcolm X was talking. He was-- he was physically in our environment. He was alive and walking around. He was speaking on the corner of 7th Avenue. You could see him in the neighborhood, he was a very visible person in our lives. Dr. Martin Luther King was also a person. He wasn&#039 ; t as visible in our lives, but he influenced a lot of what Malcolm said. He, Malcolm, was always responding to Dr. King. So, one night I went to this, you know, they have different dances all over the city, you know, in our neighborhood, actually, I could say. So I went to this dance at City University on 138th Street. It&#039 ; s in, like in Harlem anyway. And that was the night Dr. King was shot. So everybody left the dance. We were all young and we all marched out to 125th Street. And then this big riot broke out and whatever. And then I made my way home. You know, in the midst of all of this, you know, these things you saw on TV, I was like walking through the whole thing, you know, with the policemen and everything was just real crazy. People running. It was just really crazy. But then when I got home, you know, everybody was, &quot ; You made it home.&quot ; I was like, yeah. But later on-- maybe two or three, maybe a week or two later, a friend of mine told me about HARCAP, Harlem College Assistance Program. And you know this, oh, all these people came to, you know, they came to Harlem and they want to, you know, give, you know, students, you know, scholarships to go to college. So I went with her. And you know, to see what, you know, to just investigate. So this is on 125th. So, we went in, it was a storefront and there I met Mr. Gibbs, who was the admissions counselor for Muhlenberg, and he was a very personable guy. He was very trustworthy, very friendly, very you know, I, very sincere. So, he told me about Muhlenberg. And, you know, I was like, &quot ; Oh, it sounds like a good school,&quot ; you know, out of the people who were there, I was really interested. It was like you met my criteria, wasn&#039 ; t far from New York City. And, you know, you know, based on what he saw of my academics, he said I could get a full scholarship. I was like, this is great. So I, you know, completed the application then I went to school like maybe a couple of days later. And I told Colette about it [laughs]. CCC: Yes, that&#039 ; s the truth. NFSJ: And I said, &quot ; Colette, this is too good to be true.&quot ; I said, &#039 ; We have to go.&quot ; I said, &quot ; We can go to college. We could go away. It&#039 ; s a full scholarship.&quot ; I said, &quot ; But I&#039 ; m not going by myself. I don&#039 ; t know anybody down there. And I am frightened to go to a school with white folks.&quot ; So, she said, &quot ; OK&quot ; [LAUGHTER, poor connectivity]. CCC: Uh, oh. NFSJ: Then she filled out the application . . . next time he came and it was a done deal. We were on our way. We were getting ready to go to Muhlenberg. CCC: Yep. NFSJ: So, that&#039 ; s how we-- that&#039 ; s how we met and we got to Muhlenberg. But, Collette, go ahead. CCC: Yes. So what happened was-- what was very interesting was the man that was running HARCAP, I can&#039 ; t remember his name now, do you, Natalie? NFSJ: No, I can&#039 ; t remember. CCC: Well, the gentleman that was running HARCAP, at the time, he made sure, he had sent Black students to different universities the year before, and some of them didn&#039 ; t have a very good experience. So he wanted to make sure that wherever he sent students in the future, like he was real involved in coming down and seeing the campus and-- instead of just sending you to the campus, he would come back and check on you to see how things were going because people had bad experiences and he just kind of let them go to the college without much of a follow up. So he made sure they followed up on students. And like Natalie said, it wasn&#039 ; t really on my radar to go to Muhlenberg. But, you know, we came from families that didn&#039 ; t have a lot of money. So, you know, when the school was willing to, you know, help pay for you to go, that was like a done deal. But what was so crazy when we went and told our college-- our high schools that we had got the scholarship because they said anybody that, you know, got a shot, scholarship to come and bring your information so they could put it into the graduation program. Me and Natalie actually had to go and prove that Muhlenberg even actually existed. We had to bring all this stuff because they could not possibly believe that we could have got a scholarship and they could not possibly believe that it was a place called Muhlenberg. So we had to come and bring all our NFSJ: documents... CCC: catalogs and all your stuff just to prove that there was a Muhlenberg. So, you know, and then we got the scholarship and we won&#039 ; t even tell you the story about that, NFSJ: Yeah, again, CCC: about that, what we had to go through, NFSJ: Yeah. Yeah. It was very-- our school-- CCC: it was very stressful. NFSJ: very, very different because it came out that toward the end, I think you got a scholarship to a New York state. Did you get the New York State Nursing Scholarship, Colette? CCC: Yeah, I got a New York Regional scholarship. NFSJ: New York State Nursing Schola . . . because of our grades, New York State would give certain scholarships to them students. And we both got, they were like, &quot ; What!&quot ; They were so shocked, because they had very low expectations for Black students in that school-- CCC: yeah, very low. NFSJ: no matter how well you did. I was an avid reader. I did well in school. But the expectation was like there is no future for you. CCC: Right. NFSJ: And it was just very clear. That was-- that was the guidance counselor&#039 ; s attitude. It didn&#039 ; t matter what your ability was. It didn&#039 ; t matter if you showed potential, it was just it was no place for you. CCC: And yeah. NFSJ: You were just supposed to go out and go work in a-- CCC: Secretarial, Oh, oh, cause, for example, they put me and Natalie in this secretarial course-- NFSJ: Right. CCC: The secretarial program. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And that night, both our parents showed up-- NFSJ: the next day. CCC: Both of them showed up and said, &quot ; No way in hell are our kids going to the secretarial program.&quot ; They wanted us to go into the collegiate [program]. But like Natalie said, they had read all the names on the loudspeaker. You know, this person got a scholarship. This person got a scholarship. This person got a scholarship. And then when it got to my name, they said, &quot ; Colette Coates-- Colette Crum. Can you please come to the office?&quot ; And so I said, &quot ; Okay.&quot ; I went down to the office and they said, &quot ; We see here that you got a regional scholarship. We&#039 ; re going to have to check this out.&quot ; NFSJ: Right, right, anything that we received they always had to check it out. Like something was wrong. CCC: We got-- we got National Merit. NFSJ: Right. CCC: We got Model Cities. And NYU. And Muhlenberg. NFSJ: And they, and it just came to us from the uni-- we know because we were really good students. So, we were-- we thought we were really prepared for Muhlenberg. But we said, you know, well, we had fought so much negativity in the classrooms there in that school. We said, well, we can handle it. We&#039 ; re together. We&#039 ; ll be able to do well in Muhlenberg. Little did we know, little did we know the level of preparation that students had who came to Muhlenberg was really-- they had access to textbooks that we didn&#039 ; t have access to.They had access to math classes that we didn&#039 ; t have access to. So even though we were, quote-unquote, we were--we were, I felt, &quot ; prepared educationally,&quot ; we were not prepared because we did not have access to the texts that these students had. They had some of the text of the speeches we&#039 ; re using in class. So they were just like reviewing work while we were reading information for the first time. And we had to challenge ourselves. And to talk in class. And, you know, and it was many times very challenging because they didn&#039 ; t recognize our point of view or many times we would write a paper or someone write a similar paper, and we were always, they would just give us a C, point blank, say C, C, C-minus, C, you can never get a B or an A. So that was the way Muhlenberg used to deal with us. Um, [unclear] and I know, CCC: The problem I had-- NFSJ: Go ahead. CCC: The problem I had with Muhlenberg was the first year I got there, they told me, because I came from Harlem, that I could only take four classes, I could not take five classes. And I remember saying, but if you give me five classes, I mean, four classes, I&#039 ; m going to fall behind. I won&#039 ; t graduate on time. And they were like, &quot ; Oh, well, you can make it up in the future.&quot ; I said, &quot ; OK, so no.&quot ; I said, &quot ; No, no, no, I want to take five classes.&quot ; So they made us take a test and we passed the test because we went to St. Michael&#039 ; s, we got a good education. It wasn&#039 ; t like we didn&#039 ; t have a decent education. But they were only, still, let us only take four classes. And then what happened? I took finite math and couldn&#039 ; t get through finite math because it was crazy and it put me-- NFSJ: Yeah, math was our weak point, we didn&#039 ; t have that, that math. We were not prepared for the math. CCC: finite math, no. NFSJ: So that was always, that was our challenge. But the other-- CCC: Right. Yeah. NFSJ: Like, you know, Bio, I was able to, I did well, I really was able to polish my study skills. I mean, we were, both of us, we were very serious about graduating. That was our goal. CCC: Very. We appreciate it, actually, I-- NFSJ: We appreciate the opportunity to attend Muhlenberg because whatever we asked...We would go, Mr. Gibbs, the guidance counselor, had an open door policy. CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: If you ever want to-- CCC: And, Mr. Gibbs-- and Mr. Gibbs was very nice. NFSJ: You always go to him. He will see you no matter who he was talking to, no matter what you wanted to do, no matter what need you had. He would listen to you and he would talk to you and he would, you know, try his best to make it happen. For example-- CCC: and my favorite-- NFSJ: [laugh]. CCC: I&#039 ; m sorry. NFSJ: Go ahead. CCC: My favorite person was Sidney Weikert, who was the assistant admissions person. He died while we were up at Muhlenberg. But he was-- he was just a really, really sweet individual. Very nice man. Yeah. And I know one time I was trying to save money to go to Ghana. That&#039 ; s another story in itself. And he told me whatever. And what I did, I didn&#039 ; t have any money to go to Ghana. I just didn&#039 ; t, I didn&#039 ; t have it. So what I did, I would actually went to the students of Muhlenberg and said, look, I want to go to Ghana and I want you to give me contributions to go to Ghana. And they were like, well, what do you want? I said, well, whatever you want to give me five dollars, ten dollars or whatever, and I&#039 ; ll give you a receipt. And they said, OK. And they just gave me money to get together. And then Mr. Weiker said, Mr. Weiker said, whatever you don&#039 ; t get, I will give you the rest. He said, don&#039 ; t come back to me and tell me that I only got five dollars. I&#039 ; m going to give you, like, you know, a couple of hundred dollars. Well, to make a long story short. What was the crazy part was I didn&#039 ; t get to go Ghana because they canceled the trip. Now, here I am with all this money. And in no way do I have no receipts for everybody. The people whose names I had gave me the money back. But the ironic thing was for some reason, they always got me and Natalie mixed up. You know, I would be, we would be sitting in class and they would say, what do you think? What do you think, Miss Francis? And they would look at me. Or they would look at Natalie and say, what do you think, Miss Crum? And me and Natalie would just laugh. So Natalie got to go to Ghana. NFSJ: Right, that&#039 ; s what I want to tell you. Right. CCC: Yeah. Natalie got to go to Ghana and tell her about the story. Well, anyway, she gave a presentation when she went to Ghana. NFSJ:Yeah. CCC: A presentation for the school. And they just thought it was me, even though I wasn&#039 ; t the person who went to Ghana. They knew I was going to collect. I was collecting money to go to Ghana. And we looked alike. They just thought, they just suddenly thought I was the one that went, but it was actually Natalie. NFSJ: Yeah. I went to Mr. Gibbs. It was a program for the University of Chicago. So Collette was going to go after. But I went that first year and, and, and, you know, I was so, Mr. Gibbs found this group of women who supported Muhlenberg or whatever, and they they fostered me or whatever to go and study for a semester in Ghana. And I came back, I had the full experience. I studied at the University of Lagos in sociology and everything. That was my major. And then I came back and I gave a presentation to the organization, different organizations. They also thought that Collette had went but the following year, the trip got canceled. But I was-- but the thing about it was Mr. Gibbs, it&#039 ; s like he got on it and I wrote my application. I was accepted. It was just a wonderful experience. And-- CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: That&#039 ; s one thing I said. It was like, whatever you, if you could materialize it in your mind. I mean, we took it very seriously. This was, it was this. It wasn&#039 ; t very easy for us there. It was very difficult. CCC: Very difficult. Very hard. NFSJ: But at the same time, you had those difficult times shaped our ability to persevere through hard times because we came back and had many hard times. But because we were able to persevere, I think that it made a big difference. CCC: And I think me and--I think me and Natalie, too, having gone what we had gone through in high school, meeting all the prejudice and things that we met in high school, prepared us for Muhlenberg because we met a lot of prejudice and things at Muhlenberg, too. But me and Natalie were very, very strong-- very, very strong people. You know, we could stand up for ourselves. We didn&#039 ; t have to, like, depend on other people or parents or whatever to run interference. We could do things for ourselves. NFSJ: Right. CCC: To give-- to give you an example of that, like I told you previously, I, before I fell behind in classes, so I had one, I had two classes-- I had to make up one class because I was determined I was going to get out in 1973. So one class, I went to University of the City College in New York. I went to college and I made up a class. And the ironic thing about that was [laugh] the professor died. Right. He died just before the classes was over and he had some kind of scoring thing and nobody could read his-- the way he scored his grades. Nobody could read it. And so everybody in the class passed, not that I wouldn&#039 ; t have passed. But everybody could pass because, because he died, nobody could figure out what his scoring system was. But what happened was I was one class behind. So I went and I told the people I got a letter saying I owed for this night class. I had taken it. I was taking it at Muhlenberg. And the people told me, well, you have to pay them. I went to the Bursar&#039 ; s offices to tell them I can&#039 ; t pay this and they said, &quot ; Well, you have to pay it.&quot ; I said, &quot ; No, but I&#039 ; m on scholarship. There&#039 ; s some kind of mistake.&quot ; And they said, &quot ; No, there&#039 ; s no mistake.&quot ; So I said, &quot ; Well, why do I have to pay?&quot ; They said, &quot ; Because you&#039 ; re taking five classes or more.&quot ; &quot ; Six classes, because I&#039 ; m taking a night class.&quot ; So I said, &quot ; Well, what do I have to do?&quot ; And they said, &quot ; Well, there&#039 ; s not much you could do.&quot ; I said, &quot ; No problem. I got-- I&#039 ; ll figure it out.&quot ; So I went and met with Dr. Morey, who was the president of the school. So I sat down with him and I said, &quot ; You know, I, they&#039 ; re charging me for this class and I can&#039 ; t pay for it.&quot ; And he said, he pulled out the Muhlenberg catalog and showed me where it said if you took X amount of classes at night, you know, it wasn&#039 ; t covered by your scholarship and blah, blah, blah, blah. And I said to him, &quot ; Oh, OK, thank you. I&#039 ; ll see you tomorrow.&quot ; And I left. And the next day I knocked on his door again. And I said, &quot ; You know, I&#039 ; ve got this class that I can&#039 ; t pay for.&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Well, you know, I explained this yesterday, dah, dah, da dah.&quot ; And I said, &quot ; Thank you very much. I&#039 ; ll see you tomorrow.&quot ; So the third day, I guess, after the third day, he said, &quot ; Oh, my God&quot ; because I said &quot ; I&#039 ; ll see you tomorrow.&quot ; The next thing I know, I got a letter that said, I don&#039 ; t know if it was the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Daughters of the Confederacy or somebody, but they paid for my class because I guess he got tired of seeing me come up every day. But that&#039 ; s the type of thing that me and Natalie would do. We would just stick up for ourselves and just wouldn&#039 ; t let people run over us. NFSJ: Yeah, because that was-- that was also part of the situation because I-- my, both of our fathers we had. This was a real stretch to go to college and we knew this already. So that was the deal if you wanted us to come. This was we-- This was what we were expecting. Otherwise, you would&#039 ; ve went to another school. So that was-- CCC: Right. NFSJ: You know, so. You know, we just were very, very firm with that. CCC: Very firm, very firm. NFSJ: Yeah. On the other hand-- CCC: We met, we met with him before again because we wanted, yeah, they had, I mean, some of the students, they were very nice. It wasn&#039 ; t all the students. Some of them were not so nice, but some of them were very nice. And there was one young man that would take us there. Now you&#039 ; ll have a whole sports complex now or something. But in those days, it was just a room with some weights and some equipment and me and Natalie would go up there. It was a guy that was up there that would show us how to use the weights and how to use the things. And we were like the only women that would go up there and use this stuff. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And one day, Dr. Mory called us into his office and said that the men were complaining because, you know, we were going up there. So I guess they wanted to, you know, be in there half-dressed or whatever. And me and Natalie sat with him and we said, &quot ; Well, do they, do they pay a student activities fee to use the equipment?&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Yeah.&quot ; And we said, &quot ; We use this too. Do we pay students activity fees to use equipment every year?&quot ; He said &quot ; Yeah.&quot ; And me and Natalie looked at him and said, &quot ; Tell them to put on their clothes.&quot ; They were, like-- NFSJ: [indeterminate vocalization] Yeah, you know. And, and one, and-- CCC: and that was that. NFSJ: And if so, this is very significant because when we came to this school, remember, we had a room in Brown Hall that was across from the bathroom. CCC: Right, Brown Hall. NFSJ: Yeah. And we had this room together. And we had-- we made the sign. We made the sign. That was very like, it was really an insult, you know. So is it-- so it relates to today is-- it&#039 ; s very strange, but it relates to today because this, the message on the sign was &quot ; Don&#039 ; t let the bastards grind you down.&quot ; Because we, every day we felt all kinds, different types of intimidation. Yeah. CCC: Very crazy. NFSJ: And yeah. So, you know. And it was right at the time-- was offensive to people. But when we came into our room, because it took up the whole door and it was a figure and you know, you remember the figure. It was a figure of a man. And the man had his foot on someone&#039 ; s neck, a person&#039 ; s neck. And he and you-- in this very strange, but this was a feeling that we had in Muhlenberg. It was very, very, it was a very, almost oppressive, because it was just so few of us and the atmosphere was like we were imposing. When we came to Muhlenberg, we walked down the street and people would just stop and look at us like we were-- just stop and stop, like they never saw a Black person before. And, you know, if, you know, if you didn&#039 ; t have all a good sense of yourself, we weren&#039 ; t any different than anyone else. But the way, that though we-- it&#039 ; s I guess you could say at this, a micro-aggressions were continually being-- we felt them continually, not even that, you know, and you can&#039 ; t continually say things, you can&#039 ; t continually express that because people don&#039 ; t understand because they&#039 ; re not feeling the same thing, you felt, you feel, but that was fine. And every weekend, we because of this, we went home-- CCC: We go home and-- NFSJ: we would study and go home. CCC: And then, what was so crazy was the next year at Brown Hall me and Natalie weren&#039 ; t roommates anymore. I think you went to the other dorm. NFSJ: I tried to live in all the dorms, remember? CCC: She went to the other dorm. I was still in Brown Hall, and the first in this semester, I had a white roommate. I can&#039 ; t remember her name. She was--, she was OK. But they had a room on the end of the hall. It was a kitchen and it was a phone booth. And then it was a room. And the room was big enough for one, big for one person, but it was small for two people. And so I went to Mrs. Nugent. She was like the woman that was in charge of women-- NFSJ: The dorm-- CCC: in charge of the dorm affairs. And I said to her, I have a good idea for you because everybody wanted that room because it was big. And I said, &quot ; You should give me that room.&quot ; And she said, &quot ; Why do you think I should give you that room?&quot ; And I said, &quot ; Well, number one, nobody wants to be my roommate. There&#039 ; s nobody up there that wants me for their roommate. That&#039 ; s number one. And number two is a really big room, but it&#039 ; s not big enough for two people, is only big enough for one person. So, you really, you would kill two birds with one stone. You&#039 ; d have that room for somebody and you could give somebody else a roommate that matches.&quot ; And she said, &quot ; Oh, yeah, that is a good idea.&quot ; So that&#039 ; s how I got that big room at the end of Brown Hall. But what came with that room was it was right next to the phone. So, every time the phone would ring the students on the hall or would expect me to answer it. And so they would come screaming and hollering at me about why I didn&#039 ; t answer the phone. And I said, &quot ; First of all, nobody&#039 ; s calling me. I know not one phone call in there is me. And I&#039 ; m not the person, I&#039 ; m not the maid or something who&#039 ; s going to answer the phone every day. So you can, you can just forget that.&quot ; And I remember one time this lady went by, she looked in my room, and I had saved my money to buy a 12 inch TV, a real small, black and white. But I was proud of myself. And she walked by and I heard her look in and say, &quot ; Huh! On scholarship and has a television. Ain&#039 ; t that nothing?&quot ; And so I was like, not at-- I&#039 ; m not going to tell what I said because it is not nice to be on tape. So, but that&#039 ; s the type of thing that we had to go through all the time at Muhlenberg. And this-- this is one thing, too, I remember-- I don&#039 ; t know if Natalie remembers this, we were in a class and a teacher said, draw a mouse. You remember that Natalie? [LAUGHTER] CCC: Draw a mouse. And me and Natalie drew-- NFSJ: We really came from the ghetto, we really came-- CCC: We yeah, we drew a mouse, you know, like a mouse. And everybody else drew like Mickey Mouse and, you know, all that kind of stuff. But our mouse really looked like a mouse. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And so I remember him saying the reason he did it. He wanted to show that your environment, that you know, your environment, where you&#039 ; re raised affects your, you know, how-- the way you see the world. We didn&#039 ; t see the world like Mickey Mouse. That&#039 ; s not the mice that we were accustomed to seeing. So that was the type of thing like that. So. NFSJ: And we also tried to participate in-- in clubs, but we were not welcomed in clubs, we couldn&#039 ; t, it was very difficult. We would show up but we were never, we were never invited. CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: That&#039 ; s why we were-- we tried. We tried to we, we really tried, so we did make up a modern dance club, remember? CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: Remember, we did it one year. CCC: We were in the modern dance club. Yeah. We were in the modern dance. They didn&#039 ; t mind us being in the modern dance. NFSJ: Yeah, yeah. CCC: And-- and we were in a Spanish club. NFSJ: Because you spoke Spanish. Yeah. Yeah. Spanish major, right. Yeah. So that was, that was about it. CCC: And we the thing-- the thing that we were telling Susan though [in a previous telephone call] was one of the interesting things with being at Muhlenberg is that in the four years that we were there, we saw Muhlenberg change from the old Muhlenberg to the new Muhlenberg. NFSJ: Right. CCC: So the first year we were there, it was no men-- no men on the floor. They-- there was only a father could come up at certain times. You know like if they were bringing packages up or something like that. And somebody would scream, &quot ; Man on the floor!&quot ; NFSJ: Right right! CCC: So, everyone would know that there was a man on the floor. And when we left, if you left in the evenings, you had-- there was a little thing where you would pull this thing over lever next to your name, and if the lever was put to the right, they knew you were out the building. And when you came in, you pulled it back to the left and then they would know that you were back in the building. Well, me and Natalie were never on time. It was a curfew you had to be in at a certain time. Well, needless to say, me and Natalie lot of times didn&#039 ; t make that curfew, wound up going before the student council or something to get our punishment for not, you know, not doing what we were supposed to do. But the second year we were there, then it was men could come out, come up on the floor at certain hours. NFSJ: Right. CCC: Right. The third year we were there it was 24-hour dorms, which means people could come and men could come and anybody could come any time. The third year, the last year we were there, it was coed dorms. Right. NFSJ: So I became an R.A. I was-- I was an R.A. in the men&#039 ; s dorm, one of the first women R.A.s CCC: So we saw it go from curfews to 24-hour coed dorms in-- in a four year span. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: It was really interesting and it was interesting because there was a lot of back and forth like some people wanted it, some people didn&#039 ; t. And some dorms were kept straight women dorms and some were kept straight men dorms and then some were coed. It was like sort of, you know, depending upon what you were in. What else you want to know? Because we could tell you a lot of stuff, okay. HP: If you can bring us to contemporary times, is there anything that you all would do differently if you could start over? Do you have any regrets? And in what ways did your experiences at Muhlenberg impact the trajectory of your life? CCC: Well. Well, I&#039 ; ve just got to say, I&#039 ; ma say more. But one thing that really affected my life was this one teacher. You know, they always say there&#039 ; s always somebody that does things. I was going on a bus from-- because, like I said, I went home all the time. And there was this teacher. Doctor. Dr. Sinha. He was an Indian teacher. And I think his wife taught there too, she was in psychology and I think he was in economics. And we were riding on a bus together. And I was a Spanish major. And he looked at me and said, and and &quot ; What are you going to do with that?&quot ; So I looked at him and said &quot ; What am I gonna do with it? I&#039 ; m gonna do nothing with it. I&#039 ; m just-- I just like the language.&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Nah, you gotta do something with it, you just can&#039 ; t graduate with a Spanish major.&quot ; So I said, &quot ; Okay.&quot ; He said, &quot ; Maybe you could teach, why don&#039 ; t you think about teaching.&quot ; And I said, &quot ; Well, that&#039 ; s an idea.&quot ; But what happened was I didn&#039 ; t have enough time to teach you know-- I mean, I didn&#039 ; t have enough time to get the classes because there was prerequisite classes. And so I was taking prerequisite classes and classes at the same time. Like I was, I was good at lying. I hate to say it, but I was like-- like Natalie said we were determined people. So I went and they said, you want to take this is, you know, like education, B-2, say, but you got to take B-1 first. So I would say, yeah, I want to say B-2. And they said, well did you take B-1? And I&#039 ; d say, no, but Mr. So-and-so gave me permission. And they said &quot ; He did?&quot ; And I said, &quot ; Yep, he sure did.&quot ; And it would be just a big, bold-faced lie. He&#039 ; d tell me no such thing, but I would just tell them that so I could take the two classes simultaneously. And I want to get an education degree because of Mr. Sinha. And I-- I just retired from teaching five years ago. So if it wasn&#039 ; t for Mr. Sinha saying to me, &quot ; What do you want to do with that? What are you going to do with the rest of that,&quot ; I probably never would&#039 ; ve went into teaching. It was-- he was the one that got me into that. What about you Nat? NFSJ: You know, one thing that I took something-- a Japanese literature, something, in my last year at Muhlenberg and I really became so involved in it and I really, I really enjoyed it so much. And I got so interested in Japanese literature, Japanese culture. So when I left Muhlenberg, a friend of mine, I found out he chanted-- he chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. And he took me to a meeting and I found out, oh, this is a practice from Japan, it&#039 ; s a Buddhist practice from Japan. So I was-- that allowed me to be more open. I would never have been as open as I was to investigating this practice and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. And because I started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, it opened up many, many different opportunities for me in my life, you know. Because when I came out of Muhlenberg, I thought that this was the answer, you know. You were told, you know, you had to get a college degree if you-- the community we came from, we lived in Harlem, which is self-contained-- it was a really-- is a really black community at that time. There were no white people in Harlem. There was nobody who&#039 ; d pass 110th Street. We were really bound physically and geographically. And, you know, it was a completely different place than what it is now. And because of that, we had no contact with the outside New York City except for people who worked. So we had no contact with the working world, especially if you had a college degree. There was nobody to refer you to anyone to help you get a job, you know, so I was just like cold calling, you know, going to these places and getting told no, no, no, no. And it was very discouraging. I was really-- I just couldn&#039 ; t take-- I was like, what is the deal? You know what I mean. This was supposed to be the answer, getting a college degree. And it&#039 ; s nothing. And I really-- and I can see how people get very discouraged coming out of college because that&#039 ; s something that I think Muhlenberg-- maybe they have some kind of career, career program or something to help students from the beginning when they come in so that they can understand how important the major they take can affect their life in the future and-- and help them begin to mold the career path. I think this is really important and even more so for minority students so they don&#039 ; t waste one course. So everything they caught-- everything they take, is it like a step to helping them build a foundation to have a really strong work experience. They can step into the working world and be fully prepared to grab a job and have people come in and support the students or internships or even working shifts. I mean, internships are fine, but even like little working, working where you earn money, not just internships, because some time that&#039 ; s just internships don&#039 ; t necessarily treat you like you&#039 ; re a working person because they&#039 ; re not paying you. But like companies that were-- even if they pay you a very low, you know, amount, but you&#039 ; re working, doing something meaningful in the company related to your field, that will make the college experience much more important and relative and also help students prepare them to deal with debt or whatever, but I think this is something that I-- is so important and I think it should, especially for minority students, Black students who may not have many connections in the working world, and they can easily get disillusioned, depressed. And, you know, when they get out into the world cause it&#039 ; s very-- it&#039 ; s really cruel. If you have no-- no connection. And I experienced that firsthand and it was-- it was brutal. It was brutal, I&#039 ; ll tell you. CCC: And I think-- and I think the other thing that I looked at some of the things that Susan sent us to look at. And that Muhlenberg has a program now for Black students [Emerging Leaders] when they come in to try to help to make a sort of a transition from their home environment into-- into the Muhlenberg school environment. And I think that&#039 ; s pretty good. And then Susan also told us that they&#039 ; ve given the Black student-- student organization a building or something this year. NFSJ: Thank goodness. That is really something-- CCC: And I saying-- but this is where I felt-- NFSJ: It makes a big difference because that is something we could&#039 ; ve really used. Our building was the-- what was it-- the game room. CCC: The game room. NFSJ: Right. CCC: But see-- you see, my feeling is like this-- this is the only thing that makes me discouraged. NFSJ: Right. CCC: Is that they&#039 ; re given a building and that&#039 ; s all well and good, but the Black organization started in 1971. NFSJ: Thank you. CCC: Started it-- and it took from 1971 to 2021 to get a building. And I mean that&#039 ; s crazy. NFSJ: It doesn&#039 ; t make sense. CCC: And then the other thing was whenever-- I give money to Muhlenberg every year and they always have a thing that says do you have some-- do you want to specify where it goes? And I always give it to the Black organization. You know, I always say, yeah, I want it to go to these, you know, the people that are following. But it&#039 ; s like-- it&#039 ; s like almost as if you&#039 ; re-- you see it-- so many years to-- it&#039 ; s like treading water, you know, so many years go really nowhere. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And I&#039 ; m glad that they&#039 ; re going somewhere. But it shouldn&#039 ; t take like 30 years. NFSJ: Thank you. CCC: Or 40 years. NFSJ: Because even-- almost all schools in the United States have Black Student Union or Black houses, you know. Yeah, you know, it&#039 ; s a little-- it&#039 ; s a little disappointing because this school is-- has an arts program, they have a tremendous arts program. I&#039 ; ve met people in New York who&#039 ; ve come out the arts dance program, you know, and they built up the-- they built up all these. Well, I mean, so what&#039 ; s the deal? I don&#039 ; t get it. So, you know. You know, that&#039 ; s-- that&#039 ; s a big-- that to me, I-- I find a little disappointing. CCC: And then like Natalie was saying when we were-- we were looking back on our-- because me and Natalie talk about Muhlenberg from time to time. And we laugh at all the stuff that we have, that went on with us. Like we were talking about, you know, how the students treated us and stuff. We had one student, we won&#039 ; t say his name, but he made a bomb. He was well known for his bomb making and he made a little bomb and put it in the people that were bothering us-- he put it in a room and, you know, they never bothered us. They never bothered us any more because he made sure why he had put it-- he wrote a note why he was doing it. And so they left us a note-- left us a note-- NFSJ: It wasn&#039 ; t anything that hurt them. It was more like-- CCC: Oh, no, it wasn&#039 ; t like a blow up bomb. It was like a smoke, like a smoke kinda bomb. NFSJ: Like a little device. But you know what, like cut it out. It was like, you know-- CCC: Cut it out, because he really knew how to make-- he really knew how to make real bombs, too. I mean, that&#039 ; s just-- that was his gift in life. But, you know. Because that&#039 ; s the kind of environment that it was up there all the time. NFSJ: Yeah, it was. CCC: Where&#039 ; d you go, Natalie? NFSJ: I just fixed the pillow, I had the computer on two pillows. CCC: Oh okay. So, I don&#039 ; t know-- is that what you wanted to know, Hailey? Do I have any regrets? HP: Yeah. CCC: Nah, because it was what it was back then. I remember when I was coming to Muhlenberg for the interview because we had to be interviewed in order to get into the program. And I had a young man that was sitting next to me. I don&#039 ; t know who he was, which is another Black student, you know, from somewhere. And he was actually come in at the interview, too. And, you know, you got to remember, this was back in the late sixties, early seventies, you know, when it was like, you know, Black power. And, you know, Martin Luther King had been killed. And it was like a weird time-- NFSJ: It was the same year. CCC: It was not even just for the Blacks-- NFSJ: It was around this time-- CCC: Just for the whole country. NFSJ: It was actually around this time that we found out. CCC: And this guy was sitting next to me and he was talking about, yeah, when I go in there and they&#039 ; re going to know how I feel. Da-da-da-da-da. And I just looked at him and I was laughing to myself going, you ain&#039 ; t gonna be here, I know you&#039 ; re not gonna be here. I got enough sense to know, go in there with my mouth shut, say whatever they want to hear so I can get in. And then afterwards, I&#039 ; ll just-- my true self will come out later, not right now. So-- but I still wasn&#039 ; t prepared totally for-- because the same stuff that is going on now-- NFSJ: The same, it&#039 ; s the same. CCC: --was going on then. Like there was-- there was a lot of-- it was like maybe at the most at a given time, it was maybe 28 of us at the time, out of 1500 students. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And they still look like, why are you here taking up somebody else&#039 ; s space? NFS: Thank you. CCC: It was-- it should have been here instead of you. Which is still that same reverse we call reverse racism, you know, like you&#039 ; re taking somebody else&#039 ; s spot. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And you say, damn, 28 out of 1500-- I don&#039 ; t know how many students are at Muhlenberg now. That&#039 ; s not a lot of people, 28 students. NJSJ: That&#039 ; s what I&#039 ; ve said. Reality now is now reality may-- they may be on the news, but it&#039 ; s just the same, the struggle is just as real. And maybe it&#039 ; s even harder because it seems like oh, people are more-- I don&#039 ; t even-- I don&#039 ; t even think that people-- maybe they just see it because of the TV and the media, but in their hearts, I wonder-- I really wonder about this country and how they respond to Black Americans. Because really, if you don&#039 ; t-- you really want to know Black Americans love this country. And we saved this country from Trump, no matter how quiet it&#039 ; s kept. CCC: [LAUGHTER] NFSJ: No, we just stood up. We stood up. And I just want that on the record. CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: And because we care so much, we went around the world and we know the deal, you know. And so we are trying to keep this country together, no matter how much people try to say you cannot have-- we know that many of us have established great lives. But, you know, the fact of the matter is, we built this country and we have a love for this country. We don&#039 ; t love the racism and the hate. But your family life and the-- and the world we have created for ourselves within this country and all of our creativity, everything comes out of oppression, whatever, from this country. But still, in all, you know, we really feel that the Constitution is one thing that we uphold, we really look to that, you know, and I cannot I say that for many other people and it&#039 ; s very disappointing when I see this. You know, and I have to-- I have to just say for students, especially Black students, do not be fooled, you know, because it&#039 ; s really the same, same institutional racism that you have to face. It may look a little different, but it&#039 ; s a very-- the struggle is real. Well, you may have more opportunities, you may live in nicer places, you know, but just don&#039 ; t be, don&#039 ; t-- just know, it&#039 ; s real, the struggle is real. And you have to know-- know who you are and be proud of who you are. CCC: And you just have to be strong and you have to be strong within yourself. NFSJ: Thank you. CCC: Because we were just-- all of us were very, very strong. I mean, there was some black students that just did not make it. NFSJ: Right. CCC: There was several of them that came in with us. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: And I remember when we went to the orientation, they said to us, look to the right of you and look to the left for you, because four years from now, two of y&#039 ; all are not going to be here. And I remember saying to the people, to my-- next to me, see ya! [LAUGHTER] CCC: Because I&#039 ; m-- I&#039 ; m graduating! I don&#039 ; t know about you! NFSJ: Right! CCC: I&#039 ; m going through here and I&#039 ; m getting out of here! [LAUGHTER] CCC: And what was so crazy, like Natalie said, every-- every weekend we would go home. Not so much towards the end, but like the freshman and sophomore year. And I remember my mother when we came in, your parents had to sign for you to come off campus. You know, for you to go just on weekends, for you to go off campus, your parents had to give permission for you to go off campus. And my mother wrote &quot ; No.&quot ; And I had to go home, say &quot ; What, seriously?&quot ; And she said &quot ; Well, I just want to make sure that you&#039 ; re okay.&quot ; You know, because parents have their own feeling. She knew it was going to be a different environment and things were gonna be completely different. But I said to her, &quot ; I&#039 ; m 18 years old&quot ; --and that time we thought 18, you thought you knew everything. I said, &quot ; I&#039 ; m 18 years old and you have taught me the best you can. And if what you have, if it has not sunk in by 18, then you did a terrible job.&quot ; And so she went back and changed that I could go off campus. But that&#039 ; s how strict it was when we first came to Muhlenberg. You know, you had a dress code to go eat. You had to be signed to get off campus. You had to have a curfew. It was-- it was a complete-- but by the time we left, it was completely different. Completely, completely. I mean, we used to have to go to--what do you call it--the chapel, so many times. So many times. NFSJ: Right. CCC: A month. You had to be at the chapel. That got thrown out. A lot of stuff that was old traditions of Muhlenberg when it hit those 19-- those 1969 people, you know, the Woodstock generation and all that. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: That stuff just went shhhhh [downward motions with hands], you know, stuff that people did that was like cutesy, I would say that were cutesy stuff, you know, like Homecoming queen and all that kind of cutesy stuff. That stuff going by the wayside because this was Vietnam era, drafts, and all that and that stuff just-- it just took a whole different thing on Muhlenberg&#039 ; s persona. You know, the way Muhlenberg was at the time. So. And we got swept into that, too, because it was not only, you know, Martin Luther King, Kent State and all this stuff going on. NFSJ: Vietnam War. CCC: Yeah, Vietnam war. It was draft dodgers, it was amnesty for them. NFSJ: But, yeah, it just never stopped. CCC: It was nonstop. NFSJ: Nonstop CCC: All-- you know, you know, Black Panthers was out. I mean, it was just completely different era. Completely. So I don&#039 ; t have any regrets about how we did what we did. We had this like-- had to scratch and claw at Muhlenberg. I had one teacher. I had this project. We had to do this big, big project. And it was an art project. And I remember having my brother-- now my brother, he was only like 13 or something then. But he was a hell of an artist. Oh my God. And he&#039 ; s still a hell of an artist. He majored in art as he got older. And he came up and helped me lay out this whole village in Spanish, you know, like to go with the Spanish project. And so I went to the professor and I said, you know, I got my finished project. And he said, &quot ; I&#039 ; ll give you a C.&quot ; And I said, &quot ; You&#039 ; ll give me a C, but you didn&#039 ; t look at the project.&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Oh, I don&#039 ; t have to look at the project.&quot ; And I was like, excuse the expression, what the fuck, what do you mean you don&#039 ; t have to look at the project, I just worked and paid my brother&#039 ; s way up here for this project and you&#039 ; re not even gonna look at it. And I took him in front of I don&#039 ; t know-- I forget what it was. They had some kind of thing where you could complain about the teachers and go before a review thing or whatever. And I don&#039 ; t remember the outcome now, but-- but I was like that, that&#039 ; s the type of thing that Natalie was talking about. No matter how much effort that you put in-- NFSJ: Yeah, sometimes we switched papers and the other person would get an A with your paper, but you get a C because your name was on it. That&#039 ; s how we knew It was really bizarre, really bizarre-o. Well that&#039 ; s all it was. CCC: Well and I think I got-- I think I got one A at Muhlenberg. And that was-- I don&#039 ; t remember what the teacher was. It was a teacher that everybody loved, this teacher. Everybody wants to be in his class. And I went to him and said, &quot ; I want to sign up for your class.&quot ; He gave me this big speech about diminishing returns, too many people da-da-da. And I was like, OK, but I was really ticked off. I said I would never take another one of his classes no matter what. And so four years passed, I had never taken a class of his. And finally I took one of my senior year. And it was great. And he said to me, &quot ; How come I&#039 ; ve never seen you in any one of my classes until now?&quot ; And I said, because-- and I explained to what, what happened. Well, he didn&#039 ; t remember any of that conversation or anything like that. So he said to the class, he said to us, &quot ; And what grades do you think you should get?&quot ; And he went to each one of us. And I said, &quot ; I want an A. I think I deserve an A.&quot ; And he said, &quot ; And why do you feel like that?&quot ; I said, &quot ; Because I&#039 ; ve never gotten an A as long as I&#039 ; ve been here at Muhlenberg.&quot ; And he said, &quot ; You got it.&quot ; And that was my one A that I got at Muhlenberg. So yeah. But I didn&#039 ; t care as long as I got my degree and got out of there, just give me my degree and let me go. NFSJ: Yep. CCC: Yeah. Because when I go for your job they say you got a diploma. Here it is. Okay, that&#039 ; s it. They&#039 ; re not looking at your transcripts and all that stuff. So it was-- it was good. It was fine. It was good. So. Anything else, Hailey? Because-- I don&#039 ; t know-- I would like to ask you, is it different now for you guys than it was for us? HP: I don&#039 ; t think it&#039 ; s much different. I&#039 ; m hearing about like a lot of which we all are talking about, even though, what you said, about sometimes people looking at you like you-- you&#039 ; re not supposed to be here or you don&#039 ; t belong here. It&#039 ; s still very much predominantly white. I don&#039 ; t know, it gets hard, you know. But we do have-- we do have an Emerging Leaders program, so-- CCC: Yeah, that&#039 ; s the program-- HP: Students of color are able to come-- we came like a week or two early before the other freshmen came and we were able to, like, live on campus already and get like acclimated to college life before everyone else came. We were able to meet each other to know, like, who each other in our class are, which did help a lot. But it does get hard a lot of times. But luckily, we have like BSA, we have the office of Multicultural Life and we have some more, like a few black professors here. So those type of community things help a lot. CCC: Now, you know, it&#039 ; s interesting you should say that because they had us come before school started too. Remember Natalie, that program we were in-- that EOP. NFSJ: Right. CCC: Yeah. We came for like a month before school started in &#039 ; 69 NFSJ: And we took some kind of preparatory courses, remember? CCC: Preparatory classes. Yeah. Yeah. So that-- that I guess hasn&#039 ; t changed that much. But you know. I don&#039 ; t know. HP: A question I had was I know earlier you both mentioned that like you came from school in, in Harlem, in New York. And I also-- I&#039 ; m also from New York. I went to high school in Harlem-- NFSJ: What school? CCC: What school you went to? HP: I went to Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts. It&#039 ; s on 129th Avenue Amsterdam. And like by the--- NFSJ: Amsterdam Avenue, oh okay! I live on 130th off of 5th. HP: Oh, okay. So my question is, what do you think that along with like the program that we have, what do you think that Muhlenberg could maybe provide to help students that come from like under-resourced schools? So because, I know you mentioned like the lack of textbooks, a lack of like math classes. And I also came from school like that. So I did struggle a bit acclimating to like, I guess, college level courses. So is there anything that you know of or you would think of that Muhlenberg could provide to help under-resourced students coming in? NFSJ: It&#039 ; s-- I think it&#039 ; s really the schools themselves because it&#039 ; s so different, like schools in different areas who taught-- whose target these students to come to, like Muhlenberg. Muhlenberg is considered like one of the best small schools in the country. So, you know, to get into Muhlenberg, people who get into Muhlenberg come from schools-- come really prepared to go to college. So they&#039 ; ve had more pre-college or what you call a pre-- pre-college course. Like my nephew took a lot of pre-college-- completely different. My nephew lived in the suburbs. He had pre-college course. He was one of those people we didn&#039 ; t have pre-college, where you take the college classes, so college for him was very fun, you know, it wasn&#039 ; t like-- it wasn&#039 ; t like really like I was like. Collette will tell you I had a strict schedule. I used to study like a beaver. I was like a real beaver. CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: But you know, that that makes a big difference if you can get into the Advanced Placement. That it&#039 ; s Advanced Placement. Because that makes a big difference for your college career and also especially if you have good grades in Advanced Placement. But I don&#039 ; t know how you weave Advanced Placement into-- CCC: Underserved-- NFSJ: Yeah because there&#039 ; s so many. I also worked in-- I worked from K-through-eight-- I taught K-through-eight, and then at night I did-- I worked with students who couldn&#039 ; t graduate, who had difficulty graduating from high school in English, English Language Arts. I was a literacy coach for many years. So I served K-through-eight students in E.L.A. and reading because I&#039 ; m really an avid reader. That became like my vocation. And I know that&#039 ; s really, really the stumbling point is those-- what is it, Pre-Advanced Placement. If you-- if you had that under your belt, then you can really do well in college. You can have a really wonderful career. And somehow I think that getting that Advanced Placement woven into under-resourced schools is really key. Because there&#039 ; s a big difference in your career. CCC: And then too when I went to Muhlenberg, there were some professors that were really helpful. Like I took, like I said, I took finite math. And I just couldn&#039 ; t pass that stupid finite math. So I dropped out. Got me a tutor during the summer, went through the book with a tutor and came back in September and they changed the course, changed the book, and here I was just lost. And I was sitting in class and I would sit there and it would seem like the teacher was saying blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I would say, &quot ; Oh, I got it.&quot ; And then somebody would raise their hand and go, &quot ; But couldn&#039 ; t you also do blah, blah, blah and minus so-and-so da-da-da. And then I would be like [sound like blowing up] because then it would be all gone. So I went to the professor and I think this was what a lot of students have to do if you got halfway decent professors. You know, you have to just go to the professor and say, &quot ; Hey, you know, I just don&#039 ; t-- I&#039 ; m having trouble with this.&quot ; And the professor had me come to his office every day at seven o&#039 ; clock in the morning and sit there and go through the coursework. And then I didn&#039 ; t have to go to class because I just needed that little bit of extra help. And he got me through it. And then when the final came, and I ran to him and said, &quot ; Did I pass? Did I pass?&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Child, anybody that would come to my class at seven-thirty every morning..There is no way you have to-- you going to fail so don&#039 ; t even sweat that.&quot ; And then another thing too would-- I had trouble getting books, you know. And when I went to-- but like Natalie said-- me and Natalie were like, we got to find a way, you know, go up, go under, go around, whatever you got to do. And-- and I went to the professors and I said, &quot ; I don&#039 ; t have the books and I don&#039 ; t have the money to get the books.&quot ; And a lot of professors would add extra copies of books, you know, from the companies, and they would give us the extra books. And the other thing, I would just go to the library. Muhlenberg would have the same books in the library. I&#039 ; d take them out, four weeks later I&#039 ; d take them back in, bring them back, take them back in. And you know, because this way, if you want to do something, there&#039 ; s a way to do it You know, people are going to throw roadblocks in your way. They want to say, no, you can&#039 ; t do this, you&#039 ; re not capable, you can&#039 ; t, you don&#039 ; t have the resources, you don&#039 ; t have the money, you don&#039 ; t have the smarts. They&#039 ; re going to tell you whatever. And you just have to determine that this is what I&#039 ; m going to do and I&#039 ; m going to find a way to do it. So when they try to knock you down, you just do like this [swiping hands together]. NFSJ: You step aside and let them keep going. Let them pass you right by and then you continue on your path. That&#039 ; s the most important thing you have to know, because people come for you. You say they come from you. You step by, let them go. And that&#039 ; s the same way-- I had similar experience in math, too. But what I used to do every day after class, I would go to the professor and have him give me the whole class again. And he was like, this girl she keeps coming. But I kept coming. I had to pass it. And that was it. I came-- I went every day after class. By the way, I didn&#039 ; t get this or I didn&#039 ; t get that or, you know, determine I wasn&#039 ; t going to sit in that again. So I went every day after class. You know, and I would just go, go, go, go. And that was it. And then because we-- I didn&#039 ; t have the foundation in math to pass that and that&#039 ; s what I did. Both of us decided that we just had to-- CCC: And then I had a Spanish-- and I had-- I remember when I was in high school, I took Spanish, I just liked Spanish and I mean, I was killing it in high school. And I sat in that first Spanish class and it sounded like those people saying [sounds like rapid blah, blah, blah]. And I just stood there, my eyes was like saucers. I said, what did just happen? It was like a train just went by [shush]. And I said, &quot ; Whoa.&quot ; I went to the teacher and I said, &quot ; I think I might be, I think I might be in the wrong place.&quot ; And she told me, &quot ; No, just hang on. It&#039 ; s going to get better.&quot ; You know, but I wanted her to know that, hey, this is not-- this is not jivin&#039 ; , you know. Everybody else looked like they knew what was going on, but it was just way over my-- my experience. And I wound up getting through that class and I wound up passing. And me and her became good--she would bring you to her house and all kinds of stuff. People-- there were people at Muhlenberg that were really, really helpful and really good. It wasn&#039 ; t everybody and it wasn&#039 ; t all. And I used to be real close to Dr. Ring. I don&#039 ; t know if you know Doctor Ring. He was a religion, religious teacher, something I don&#039 ; t know. For some reason, certain people gravitated and helped you. You know, they saw that you needed help and they were there for you. It was-- it wasn&#039 ; t everybody. You know everybody wasn&#039 ; t all nice and everybody wasn&#039 ; t all bad. It was like, you know, there was some people there that were there for you. NFSJ: Does that answer your question? HP: Yes, that was very helpful. NFSJ: Was it helpful? HP: Yeah. NFSJ: That&#039 ; s the most important thing, because the most important thing is if you ever feel like, you know, you have a class that is really difficult, I think what I did like, I had to take a science course-- one thing I did, and this botany was killer. So I would read the book, remember Colette. I would read the book before class. CCC: She was my roommate then, I remember-- NFSJ: Come back home. CCC: Wait let me just say this, Natalie. NFSJ: What? CCC: I didn&#039 ; t take botany. NFSJ: Right. CCC: Because of Natalie! I didn&#039 ; t take it. NFSJ: Oh, yeah, I know you took birds. CCC: I took birds. NFSJ: I came-- I would come back, rewrite my notes, read the next class, you know, and just continue. And I mean, right after class, I will run back to the room so I wouldn&#039 ; t forget a thing. And then there was-- go over my notes and read for the day because I really, you know, when something is really that difficult, you have to really just make a commitment of, you know. And it&#039 ; s very difficult to do that. But you have to look-- you have to have your greater goal in mind especially if there is something that you want to pass and you know that-- and there was always, we always had stuff going on. But the thing about it is class is in the daytime. So as long as you structure your day to study during the day and you don&#039 ; t waste your day, you could party at night. We used to go out and have fun. But, you know what, we didn&#039 ; t waste, you know-- and of course, we would-- you being in the union, we used to play cards all the time and you don&#039 ; t have a bowling alley I don&#039 ; t think anymore. We-- bowling alley, we used to play foosball, ping pong. That was-- we&#039 ; d, we had a really great time. But you had to determine-- CCC: The outlets. NFSJ: Yeah, we would. You know, I just said for that particular time during the day, I had to pass it by. I had to pass it by and had to commit to, to a structure in my life so that I could get-- CCC: And you also-- and you also like, like Natalie said, she took Botany. I was like, oh, hell, no way I&#039 ; m taking Botany. I used to watch her, she would just be over those books all day. I took birds. NFSJ: She was out in the field four A.M. in the morning looking for birds. I was like oh my goodness. [LAUGHTER] CCC: Ornithology! [LAUGHTER] CCC: And here I am coming from the -- [INAUDIBLE] -- I don&#039 ; t know birds from nothing. NFSJ: I know! CCC: And I was like I&#039 ; m gonna take some -- [INAUDIBLE] -- and I did good with the [LAUGHTER] ... paper with the book and studying. But when they was going out looking at the birds-- [LAUGHTER] NFSJ: Did you see any of them? I was like, is she seeing any of these birds -- [INAUDIBLE] -- just going to the field? [LAUGHTER] CCC: But I made friends, I made friends with the white students in the class. NFSJ: Who knew the birds. CCC: And there was this one guy-- and they knew the birds because they were raised with the birds. You know, they used to shoot the birds and they knew the birds. So the whatcha-ma-call-it, the-- I laugh now but-- and it would be like freezing. You would be out there and it would be freezing. NFSJ: I would be laughing! [LAUGHTER] CCC: Right. And the bird would be-- and the final was like, OK, listen to that call, what bird is that, what bird is that? And I&#039 ; m like-- and the guy is like sparrow. And the guy would give me the answer. He said, I&#039 ; m not gonna let you fail this, and he would give me the answer because I really did not know those birds. We looked through the binoculars and see what was that yellow bird. But you do what you gotta do, you know. It was like-- I wasn&#039 ; t taking Botany, but if I had to do birds then I&#039 ; ll take birds. And you just be friends with people and people who helped each other out, Black and white, you know. But one thing I found out at Muhlenberg, some of those people that had a lot of money, they cheated. They cheated their way through Muhlenberg. They got tests and stuff and they cheated. And I didn&#039 ; t know that. So like my senior year, some of those people just cheated, you know? And I&#039 ; m quite sure that&#039 ; s not a, what do you call it, a shock to Muhlenberg faculty here. But, you know, they had money and stuff and they, they were able to get things. And I was like, stunned because we didn&#039 ; t do that stuff. We really went by studying, get it. You know, they had money, buy it and they get the answers and all kinds of stuff. And I found that out the last year year I was there. A lot of people in those fraternities and stuff. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: But the best fraternity on that campus was what, Natalie? NFSJ: What was it? CCC: Lambda Chi. NFSJ: Lambda Chi, yeah Lambda Chi. Is Lambda Chi still there? [SHAKING HEAD NO] NFSJ: It&#039 ; s not? CCC: No! NFSJ: What happened to Lambda Chi? CCC: Well, I don&#039 ; t doubt, I don&#039 ; t doubt it. NFSJ: It was Animal House. That was the Animal House. CCC: Animal House. NFSJ: Right. CCC: Lambda Chi was the Animal House. When you saw that movie Animal House, that was Lambda Chi. But those guys were so welcoming. NFSJ: They were very nice people. CCC: They were so welcoming. You know, they-- they were nice, you know. It didn&#039 ; t make any difference to them Black, white or whatever. NFSJ: When we went to the reunion, that&#039 ; s the group of people who came back, all those people from the Animal House were there, remember. CCC: Lambda. Yeah. Animal House, Lambda Chi. NFSJ: Lambda Chi, they were there. Those were the people who came back. CCC: They were funny guys, they were funny guys. Yeah. NFSJ: It was nice to see them. I think when we came back for &#039 ; 73 or something like that. You have any more questions, Hailey? CCC: --Yeah, we came for the fifth anniversary. NFSJ: Yeah. HP: I think Samantha has a question. NFSJ: Go ahead, Samantha. SB: Yeah, I guess just circling back to being in the EOP and just being in that program, I guess just what was it like being in this program within your grade? Like, did the students talk about it with you? Like how-- what was it like being in the program? NFSJ: Like what? CCC: I think we, we basically were all coming like-- I think we were all coming like that, like Natalie was saying, like they brought students from all over and were like, oh, yeah. I think Muhlenberg and Mr. Gibbs actually had-- had wanted to bring Black students into the school, you know, wanted to have some diversity in school. But I think they kind of really didn&#039 ; t know exactly what they were doing. It kinda was like they were trying it, it was like an experiment and it was-- but I think it was maybe more than they bit off, I don&#039 ; t know. Or maybe it was the people that came. [LAUGHTER] CCC: Us and Larry Cameron. You know, the people that they got there too because we were all wild people-- but not wild, I don&#039 ; t mean wild that way. I mean, it was very strong people that came in that program, but I think-- I think when they first started the program, it was the best intentions. You know, they had the best intentions, but I think the program-- the program kind of petered out because, like we were saying, the people that fed the program from our perspective, [INAUDIBLE] disappeared. NFSJ: Right. CCC: So some of the people that were feeding into that program, it was like good for the moment, you know, just like you have some programs nowadays, like if you know this, that and all year we want to do this and kumbaya. And then all of a sudden it&#039 ; s like, OK, we don&#039 ; t have to do this anymore. It&#039 ; s gone. And that&#039 ; s probably pretty much what happened to that program. And we were all kind of at the same way, don&#039 ; t you think, Natalie? We were all kind of like-- NFSJ: Everybody was very independent personality. Every single person that came had a personal strength and they came from different parts of the country like there was, remember Jackie came from Alabama. This girl came from, Joyce, came from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Every single person-- CCC: Don&#039 ; t say their names! Say my friend, Natalie. Say my friend. NFSJ: I&#039 ; m sorry, my friend. There was someone from-- and there were many people from Philadelphia. But every single one of them were very strong personalities and they have very strong characteristics. Everybody had well-formed identities, whether positive or negative, everybody was-- CCC: Right NFSJ: Nobody was like a shrinking violet, even though you had a very-- Everybody had a very strong-- they picked people who would be able to be independent. CCC: And maybe survive Muhlenberg NFSJ: Right. [INAUDIBLE] NFSJ: Everybody which-- I don&#039 ; t know if they matched-- the people matched, you know, so much socially. We all got along. But, you know, because. CCC: Yeah. NFSJ: We all-- we all were able to have bonds of friendship, but people who came from same cities seemed to bond together. People from the big cities seemed to bond like people from New York bonded. And then people from Philadelphia bonded and people from the D.C. area bonded. And then there were outlying people like from the Virgin Island or from way, way down south. And then we just sort of absorbed them into our groups, and they became. But as far as being in the program, I think it was-- it was, we didn&#039 ; t think-- I think we just thought it was that economic opportunity was an opportunity. That was-- that&#039 ; s what I think most of us -- [INAUDIBLE] -- and we were taking advantage of it-- CCC: Cause it was-- cause there was one-- there was one young man, his whole church-- Cause there was one young man, his whole church had taken up collections and stuff to make sure he had extra moneys and things. NFSJ: Right. Yeah. CCC: And then the lady that came from-- our friend that came from I think it was Togo, wasn&#039 ; t it? Tortula and Togo. NFSJ: Oh, St. Thomas, yeah yeah. CCC: She didn&#039 ; t come from St. Thomas, it was near St. Thomas. NFSJ: OK. CCC: But what happened with her was that students, and I was telling Susan, we got them to send her home for a vacation, you know, because she-- they brought her here with no-- NFSJ: --no way to get back home. CCC: You know, and she went to somebody&#039 ; s house, you know, like we would be-- it would be like, oh, it&#039 ; s it&#039 ; s summer break and we&#039 ; d be like, oh, let&#039 ; s go home and she&#039 ; d be like, OK-- NFSJ: I&#039 ; m spending-- I&#039 ; m spending summer on campus. People would be like &quot ; What?&quot ; It was very-- it was, there were some holes. CCC: So like, you know, when it was stuff like-- when it was something like Thanksgiving or something like that, she would go to people&#039 ; s houses, you know, like-- NFSJ: She would go to your house mostly. CCC: Come to my house. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: But when it was like-- it came like to summer break, then it was like, well, what&#039 ; s going to happen to her? And they were like-- and the students actually got them to send her home. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: So she could visit her family because it was like, who are you gonna bring somebody from another country and let them go on a special program and then don&#039 ; t give them any way to do things and just stay four years. No. And like we said, that was a very strong group of Black students. So, you know. SFM: I just want to check in here. Just do a little time check, because you are being so generous with your time and we&#039 ; re at the eight o&#039 ; clock point here. I know that-- I think each one of the students has I think one more question. And I was kind of curious about one thing, too. But I definitely want to be respectful of your time. NFSJ: That&#039 ; s okay. CCC: No, I&#039 ; m good. SUSAN FALCIANI MALDONADO: Also consider this a standing invitation some time that you definitely should come to Muhlenberg and sit in the studio and we would love to visit with you and record you again in person. Because there&#039 ; s so much more we could go until 10 pm, I have no doubt. I&#039 ; m just going to throw out my question in the-- and like I said, each of the students has one more to follow up on. You&#039 ; ve mentioned Dr. King. You&#039 ; ve mentioned Malcolm X. I believe you hinted on the phone with me about giving a talk at Lafayette with the Black Panther. So I just wanted to ask about what your activism was like at that time. Were you involved? How were others involved? What was that like? NFSJ: Well, we had one person I remember you know who I&#039 ; m talking about, our friend. I can&#039 ; t even say his name, but he was like a real-- he was Mr. Black Power. Ungawa Black Power. CCC: Did he come from Guinea? NFSJ: Yeah. He came from-- yeah CCC: Guinea, okay. I know who our friend is! NFSJ: Yes, yes. So he was always-- he was-- he kept us on the straight and narrow. CCC: I know who you mean. NFSJ: Right. And he was in Friends for Nam. He was always quoting all these extremely radicals to us. And he very much-- our, our participation was, we were, I speak for myself-- I was culturally immersed because it was my neighborhood. So we-- you couldn&#039 ; t avoid, it was just the way you thought. And we watched-- we watched the, you know, the march you know, over the bridge and with the, with the hoses and the-- and the dogs. And like I said, I was in-- I was in, walking back monitoring my transistor when Martin Luther King was shot. And, and the police and the water and everything. And then I was-- I walked through that and, you know, and that&#039 ; s-- I wasn&#039 ; t like marching or anything. I was-- I was a participant observer and I wanted to have a better life because it wasn&#039 ; t right. That was a very big, significant point for me when I came from Harlem and I came to Pennsylvania and I saw how people live. And I didn&#039 ; t understand because the quality of our life was so different than the quality of the life of people in Pennsylvania. CCC: Right. NFSJ: You know, I mean, how you know, because our life is just as valuable and we had just as much community and we and-- but we didn&#039 ; t, we didn&#039 ; t have-- our life just wasn&#039 ; t to me-- I don&#039 ; t wanna say it wasn&#039 ; t fair, but it wasn&#039 ; t fair, you know. And but yet still, it was, it was my life, something I really treasured. But, you know, when you-- when I saw the extreme difference, it was-- it was really shocking, you know, which that-- and I think that&#039 ; s what made me more determined to get an education, because at that point, that&#039 ; s what was streseds. You had to get an education to-- to lift yourself out of this poverty and not saying that we were poor, but we lived in Harlem and Harlem was a contained community. It was a Black community that will never be again. It was-- it&#039 ; s a wonderful place to live. It was nothing but Black people, literally. There were no white people living in Harlem at that time. Not one you wouldn&#039 ; t see no Black-- no white people at all. Now, there&#039 ; s plenty of white people. But it was an all-Black community, totally Black. You crossed 110th street, it was totally Black. You walking home at night, it was Black people out, sitting on the stoops? It was people in the-- it was just full. It was a Black community like you would never experience before. So the level of participation was just being-- coming from that, that&#039 ; s why we had to go home because it was-- we were not-- we were like outside of our community. We were like-- we were like in-- we weren&#039 ; t among our people, you know, it was-- that&#039 ; s why we had to go, almost had to go home every weekend. And then some weekends people came to visit us-- CCC: Every weekend, yeah. NFSJ: Yeah. It was either-- either or. People would come or we would go home because we had need for that community because that&#039 ; s what sustained us. So, you know, in terms of that&#039 ; s-- that&#039 ; s basically what it was-- it&#039 ; s like, was a state of mind I think, you know, in terms of being active-- being active was just you were-- your mission as-- your mission was to get an education. Your mission was to do well. Your mission was not to, you know, be-- not to fall into drugs, not to fall into this. That was your mission to continue on and I guess you could say, like, create value with your life. That was-- that was my mission. That was Collette&#039 ; s mission. That was-- we knew we had a mission and that was it. It was like a personal type of thing. And that&#039 ; s some that&#039 ; s, I think-- SFM: I wonder, I think Colette&#039 ; s wireless might have finally-- NFSJ: Yes, because she&#039 ; s in a country. She lives in the country. SFM: All right, we&#039 ; re back. NFSJ: Collette, back. Yeah, she lives in the boondocks of Virginia. Her Internet goes in and out. I&#039 ; m just telling you! SFM: Well we have been very lucky so far, so! NFSJ: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Collette, you want to say something? SFM: You&#039 ; re on mute! Still muted! NFSJ: Colette, you&#039 ; re muted, unmute yourself. SFM: Can you hear us? OK. NFSJ: Unmute yourself, yes you can. She doesn&#039 ; t have something. SFM: Sure. NFSJ: What&#039 ; s doesn&#039 ; t she have? Can the host unmute her? SFM: You can. All I can do is ask to unmute. But I just sent a message so. And Natalie-- yes, sorry, Colette, you could use the chat down below if you wanted to, too. But I think if we&#039 ; re starting to disconnect a little bit here, we would be open to doing this again sometime I think. NFSJ: Yeah, because I think her computer-- her internet is going. SFM: Sure, sure. NFSJ: I&#039 ; m glad she lasted this long. SFM: So that--that is the universe telling us that our hour and a half here was good for our first-- our first visit. Kate, were you going to add something? KLR: No, I was just going-- yes, I was going to say you&#039 ; re more than welcome, we would welcome you with open arms if you would ever consider coming to Muhlenberg. I think it would be fun for you to actually be in the presence of the Black house. I think Hailey would-- can I say that maybe they could attend a BSA meeting or we could have an impromptu gathering? I think we would love that, you know, just I really think it&#039 ; s important for so many of the things that you said resonate, as Hailey has said, and the things that you see, that not much has changed, you know, in some respects. Some things have. But still, anyway. NFSJ: Yeah, and it&#039 ; s important to know that people have gone that way and how to navigate those things. KLR: Absolutely. NFSJ: You know, and it&#039 ; s OK. You know, you can navigate it okay, you know, that&#039 ; s important. KLR: And I really appreciated the comments that you made that some faculty are willing to help. NFSJ: Yeah. KLR: I think I&#039 ; d like for more faculty to hear that because I think it&#039 ; s really important coming as a first generation college student, you know, even at my age. But it just-- you know that we don&#039 ; t know everyone&#039 ; s circumstances and we need to help people succeed. That&#039 ; s what we are here for or should be. NFSJ: Right. KLR: So, I really appreciate both of you talking about how some helped. I don&#039 ; t think much of that has changed and I&#039 ; ll let Samantha and Hailey talk about that. We have some amazing faculty, but we also have some that are, here&#039 ; s the drill, here&#039 ; s what you do, you know. NFSJ: Right. KLR: Before we leave I just want to tell you both, thank you very much. I just-- I mean from the bottom of my heart, I really mean that. NFSJ: Oh, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate your warm reception. SFM: Thank you. Thank you so much. Do either of the students have any, any follow-ups or last questions or anything as we leave? HP: I think the last thing we kind of just wanted to ask was, was there anything that you all wanted to say to either-- something that you want to see for future students of color at Muhlenberg or just any advice you have for students in general that are here at Muhlenberg. I think I was kind of like our last question. NFSJ: Take advantage of your education. I mean, it&#039 ; s a great education. It&#039 ; s a great school. I think that it prepares you well for the world. I mean, you really come, come out-- you, you really you can stand with anyone, you know, with your education from Muhlenberg. You know, you, you have to have confidence that you know, you are you know, you really know you&#039 ; re well-prepared. You&#039 ; ll be well prepared to handle whoever you meet, to hold a conversation, to think critically, you know, and to, you know-- I have and, you know-- you&#039 ; ll know how to learn and solve problems because I think of the situation you&#039 ; ve been in and also the education you you&#039 ; ve had to gain from that situation. You&#039 ; re well prepared to deal with all kinds of problems and solve them positively if you make it out. You know, with positive attitude, you&#039 ; ll be a real plus to society. I think it&#039 ; s a great place to, even though it&#039 ; s not easy, but it&#039 ; s an important place to make a foundation for your higher education. I tried to get my nephew to attend, actually. He came to Muhlenberg for a workshop. And everybody, they loved him. They helped him write his pre-college, his college essay, but he didn&#039 ; t go. [LAUGHTER] CCC: And I would say, can you hear me? NFSJ: Yeah, you know you went out Colette, what happened? CCC: I know, it&#039 ; s-- I had to go back to my e-mail all over to come back because I&#039 ; m in the country. NFSJ: That&#039 ; s what I told them. CCC: What I would say for all students, black and white, is make sure the first year that you get there that you really really set the tone of your grades and everything. Because a lot of times people get there their freshman year, I remember me and Natalie came and when we first went there to the Brown Hall, the students, I don&#039 ; t know what they did, they slicked up the hall and we went out of the room and they were sliding through the halls and drinking beer. I mean, I never seen nothing like it in my life and I just wasn&#039 ; t ready for that, you know what I mean, that wasn&#039 ; t what I had came here for. So and what I realized is that you have to get your grades up the first year that you&#039 ; re there, and in the first two years at least. But a lot of people, they-- they party and hang out and do things that first year, the second year or first year and a half. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And then they try to catch up in third and fourth year. And you can&#039 ; t do it because you can&#039 ; t do low, low grades and then go to higher grades and try to get your scores up, you know, your what is it, GP? NFSJ: Right, GPA. CCC: You know what I&#039 ; m talking about, GPA up. So, you know, I&#039 ; m-- I&#039 ; m all for it when people say they shouldn&#039 ; t have cars in their freshman year or that I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I believe that because people will get there, they want to party, they want to have a good time. Momma&#039 ; s not here, daddy&#039 ; s not here, the first time I&#039 ; m out on my own, I&#039 ; m 18. And I swear, when I was 18, you could tell me nothing. I thought I knew everything about everything. And so I think you need that structure and Muhlenberg has to give students that structure to make sure that they&#039 ; re making good decisions so that they can keep making the decisions for four years and then get out. Because a lot of times students come in, they don&#039 ; t have the structure. It&#039 ; s the first time they&#039 ; re really, really on their own and they just go buck wild and then they just mess up. Or they flunk out or they leave. And it&#039 ; s just so unnecessary. And unless they&#039 ; re like strong students and can really pull themselves together, they just have a hard time. So that&#039 ; s, that would be my my advice. And I always tell people go away to school. You know what I mean. Like I&#039 ; m not an advocate like if you live in New York, go to school in California. No. I believe like we did, go from New York to Pennsylvania. NFSJ: Two hours away. CCC: And then when you want to go home, you can an hour or two to go home. But you&#039 ; re far enough away to be on your own, far enough from mommy and daddy and everybody. But close enough when you want to go, &quot ; Mommy&quot ; , you know, then you can-- you can just and, you know, beeline back home. But that&#039 ; s, that&#039 ; s-- because the first two years is really the hardest, especially the first year. I think for some students, they&#039 ; re just not used to being away from home unless something is changed, but it is hard being away from home, even though you think you want to be away. Then all of a sudden you find out it&#039 ; s harder than what you thought, you know. And especially for a Black student, I would think being away from everything that you&#039 ; re-- like Natalie was saying, you&#039 ; re used to you being in a certain community, doing certain things culturally is different. Food is different. Everything is just different. And so, you know, you really have to have some kind of outlet or something to pull yourself together or you can really freak out and wind up leaving or get depressed or have problems and, and you don&#039 ; t want to have it if you, if you can avoid it. And it&#039 ; s a serious thing and it really is. Wouldn&#039 ; t you say, Nat? NFSJ: Definitely. I second that. Get good grades the first and second semester so you get a good foundation for your GPA. CCC: And we need to leave, you will find that Muhlenberg is a well-known school. It really is. When you go out in the world and people say, oh, you went to Muhlenberg. NFSJ: People look at you like, oh, you&#039 ; ve got something going on. CCC: Oh, you went to Muhlenberg. Yeah. Especially people in the sciences, at least during our time, people in the sciences and the medicines and stuff they all knew Muhlenberg. NFSJ: Yeah. CCC: Even my father knew Muhlenberg. I was like, my father knows Muhlenberg. And my father knew Muhlenberg actually from their basketball team. [LAUGHTER] CCC: So. So you know. Yeah, yeah. Muhlenberg is well known. So you&#039 ; ll get out-- you get a good education because it is a good education. And it&#039 ; s well named-- a well named-- the school has a good reputation and it will help you when you go try to get a job or go somewhere else that you went to Muhlenberg. Because people even now say, oh, you went to Muhlenberg. NFSJ: Right. CCC: And I&#039 ; ve retired. They still look and say, oh, you went to Muhlenberg. Oh, I live in Allentown. So I know somebody where, you know. You&#039 ; ll be surprised. Yeah. SFM: Well, thank you so much. We will be in touch. Copyright remains with the interview subject and their heirs. video The interviews collected as part of the project &quot ; The History of Diversity and Inclusion at Muhlenberg College&quot ; are hereby shared with the consent of the participants under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). Under this license, the interviewees have agreed for the interviews to be publicly available in the Trexler Library archives and as a freely available resource on the internet for educators, scholars, students, and others who wish to explore the many stories about Muhlenberg College’s path toward diversity and inclusion. 0

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“Colette Crum-Coates and Natalie Francis Shannon-Jackson, April 5, 2021,” Muhlenberg College Oral History Repository, accessed February 7, 2023, https://trexlerworks.muhlenberg.edu/mc_oralhistory/items/show/82.