Interview with Paula Giddings

Let's talk about the Robin Gregory campaign. What was it usually like on the campaign for homecoming queen, and how was hers different?


Well the traditional homecoming campaign was quite a ritual. Ah, each sorority, fraternity for example had their candidates and other organizations had candidates as well. And I remember that during the days of the campaign, each candidate would appear on campus, at certain times of the day, of the afternoon. And this meant people, all the candidates of course had to get new wardrobes. They were people of latest fashions. They usually come rolling in in a car, latest model convertible. And everything was color coordinated. And I remember working on the campaign, you always had to think of what color was the car, then the dress had to match the car and the flowers had to match the dress that matched the car. So it was all very elaborate and then there would be a demonstration around, talking about the candidate. Most of the, the women were, ah, certainly by western standards, I mean the most attractive woman was selected. It didn't always mean that they were light skinned women with straight hair in that traditional western sense. But they were all very, very attractive in a traditional way. I'll never forget the year, none of us will forget the year that Robin Gregory was also running for homecoming queen. And of course, Robin Gregory had no car or and always looked sharp but certainly not those elaborate dresses. She had an Afro which of course was the, was the statement that she made physically. And she was always flanked by two, very handsome men, very serious, very well dressed in the way that the Fruit of Islam was dressed with the bow ties, very serious. And they always had their arms folded and would look straight ahead while Robin talked. And Robin talked about the movement. Robin talked about Black politics. Robin was not the traditional homecoming queen candidate.** She would also go around to the dorms in the evenings which was something very, very different and still talking about this. People who were, by that time, were prepared, were much more prepared I think. We, ah, I know.