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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Relationships between students at Scarritt College and Fisk University

Young describes the relationship between her white students at Scarritt College and the African American students at Fisk University. According to Young, whereas whites living in Nashville were generally not overly receptive to the idea of racial integration, Scarritt students were typically progressive in their views on race relations. In particular, Young describes the warm reception Scarritt students gave to African American speakers and their respect for the choir and chapel services at Fisk.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Did a great many of your students go on to become involved in different aspects of inter-racial work, in the Inter-racial Commission, or the Association of Southern Women, or Bethleham Centers, or race relations in the church?
Well most of our students in those days worked with the church. That is they would go into religious education. And I really think that all of them had a much broader than usual attitude on race and probably for the general exposure, more than anything I taught anybody in the classroom, that is when you saw Negroes coming over to address a class, and when I had a Negro speaker I usually opened it to anybody that wanted to come and moved to an assembly hall. When you would hear a person like Dr. Johnson and he had very distinguished visitors here always and they very often came over here, when you'd hear them talk and when you'd see them at lunch in the dining room it did something for you. And also our students worshipped a great deal at Fisk Chapel. They had excellent ministers at that time. One of them was John Knox who went to Union. And then Mr. FAulkner, a Negro chaplin followed him and our students liked both of them very much. And the music at Fisk, of course, was just much the best in the city. So a usual thing at the beginning of college, we had . . . we all had our meals together for the first years I lived on the campus, we'd just barely sit down to a Sunday dinner and the new student would say, Miss Young have you ever been over to Fisk Chapel? And they would have gone there the first day. And it would just open the eyes of a little girl from Mississippi, or Louisiana, or Georgia to hear that beautiful choir and to hear this wonderful sermon. There was nothing in town that would top it and very few things would match it. And she would have come probably from a small place. So that all those things were very liberalizing. And our chapel, see this was 1928, and there was no segregation in our chapel. I'll tell you an ugly story. The Congregational Church here was having a district meeting and asked to use our chapel. And it was arranged and we went over for some of the evening meeting and Miss Derricotte , Juliette Derricotte whose name you should know, she was a wonderful Negro woman, was Dean over at Fisk. And she came over with some friends to this Congregational meeting. And the ushers wanted to keep her in the back and wouldn't let her go where she wanted to go. And Dr. Cummins my president heard some sort of disturbance in the back and went back to look at things and brought her forward to sit toward the front where she wanted to sit with him probably. But for a southern methodist to call down a Congregational church meeting like that, I mean it showed how consistent we were at Scarritt in our attitude and also how out of line the town was. And nobody called us bad names. They just didn't follow along with us. But they didn't call us bad names. But that was, I think it was the general atmosphere that was good and I think that all of our students took some of that with them.