Interview with Fred Black

You were a member of ROTC. How did they treat you as a member of ROTC in '64, '65 and then later on in '67 and '68.


When we first got to Howard in, in the fall of 1964, ROTC was compulsory for 2 years, you had to do four semester. ROTC was en-grained in, in campus life. Thursday afternoons you had drill out on the football field. And you would march around for a couple of hours, and do your drills and the stands many times particularly when the weather was nice would be filled with spectators who were just observing drill. And it was really part of the campus scene. Ah, ROTC did not have much controversy, associated with it even though everybody knew it was compulsory. Ah, you had a choice between Army and Air Force. So both units would be out on the field at the same time and there were just a large number of spectators who would come and watch you. By the time ROTC became a political issue on the campus doing away with it's compulsory nature in many cases you experienced difficulty because you were in ROTC, particularly if you were in the voluntary part: the third and fourth year. I remember very clearly a professor telling me on a Thursday morning don't ever come back to her class in my ROTC uniform, and it was very clear to me that she meant it. That whole change in attitude toward ROTC of course was in many ways influenced by the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the fact that, ah, people were protesting the war, but that had not really reached the campus yet, the issue was still just compulsory ROTC.