Interview with Charles Epps
QUESTION 28
SAM POLLARD:

The students were saying there was only one Negro History course. They wanted more. I mean, if I was a student and I said, I felt it was important to know about my heritage, much like an Italian American or a Greek American and that's why I felt I needed more than one course to understand that. What would you say? What would your reaction be?

CHARLES EPPS:

Well, what I would say to them is that they--

CHARLES EPPS:

I think what I would say to the student who is asking for more Black studies in the context of what happened in 1968 is this. That, they should not lose sight on their primary objective which is to get an education to prepare themselves to take their role in life, whether they're an engineer, a physician, a dentist or whatever. And that they, one or two introductory courses should be sufficient because in a university what one does is stimulate the, the individual. There's a library there with countless books and he can explore that to his own satisfaction and as deeply as he wishes to. But we should not have an over-balance there so that you would, ah, lose sight on your basic objective. In other words, if you're there as an engineer, then you need to master the, the, curriculum so that when you are finished in four years you become an engineer with marketable skills and abilities so that you can go out and get a job for General Electric or anyone. Ah, the Black studies would be, ah, a good elective so that you could enrich your college experience through that and if you are stimulated to learn more about it then having learned the basic skills of self-study in the university, you could go on and explore that to your own satisfaction. But I, what I interpreted the students asking for was a greater emphasis, one that was inappropriately heavy in Black studies, as opposed to something that would be a basic introduction.