Interview with Fred Black

There were professors at Howard whose job it was to teach you--and your parents spent all this money for you to go to school to get this education, I mean your parents must have spoken to you when they heard about all, what was going on the campus, I mean what did you think?


My parents spoke very clearly, and if I remember correctly, their line was "we did not send you to Howard University to get a degree in protest, you're at Howard University to get a diploma, a diploma that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life." I think there was a real problem amongst some students who were hearing that from home like I was, that, where do you get off telling the administrators of that great university how to run things? Ah, this was very radical departure on college campuses, where the students decided to decide what was best for them; this was not something that any of the administrators had any experience with either, and I think in some ways that's why they were caught off guard with the intensity, the real intense situation they found themselves having to deal with, thinking that gee, these people have been running a university for a long time, why is it that everybody rejects anything and everything they say, just because they happen to be the administrators? But yet you had to agree with the students who were arguing about the basic rights and procedures of the university, that something needed to be reformed. So, you were caught between these crosscurrents--what all of your home training told you, you should be doing, but yet common sense told you something had to change. Just, no doubt about it.