Interview with Robin Gregory

Now how did it come about that your campaign for homecoming queen was put together? Where did the idea come from, and what kind of things were you trying to do with the campaign?


A lot of things were happening, um, in 1966, in terms of the movement, um, where the movement was going. Um, it was just beginning to be the, the dawn of the whole Black Power movement. Um, getting away from the more conservative approach to, to change through the way the Civil Rights Movement had been going, into a Black Power consciousness. And it was like right on the edge of that. And there were a few students at Howard who were very politically involved in things and I was one of them. But someone came up with an idea that we should make a statement around the homecoming, because it was such a superficial kind of thing that kept affirming, um, old values that we were trying to resist or trying to overthrow. So, I was approached by some men from the law school, actually, and, um, they asked me if I would do it, because they wanted to, to make a statement about, about the Black aesthetic. And they wanted to resist the whole image. This whole homecoming queen thing was, it's kind of hard to describe the atmosphere of, of the way that it went, but it was a lot of fraternities, you know, who, the fraternities would nominate a candidate who would run for the, for the position. And it was a popular election, by the way. But you had to be nominated by some on-campus organization. And usually they picked someone who was as close to White as they could possibly get. I mean, it didn't have to be skin color. It was just the, the whole, um, image of the person. And so they said, "Well, will you do this? We want to run somebody that has a natural hair style. We know that you're politically active. Let's take this particular context and, and use it to make a statement." And so I was willing to do that. Um, that's how it happened.