In this interview, Ido Jamar (formerly Judith Fitzhugh), class of 1969, details her involvement as the face and voice of the 1968 Student Walkout - a civil rights protest against Brown University’s lack of commitment to students of color.
Jamar begins first by discussing her family background and childhood growing up in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. She elaborates on her parents’ college educations and her father’s career as a professor at Howard University. She also talks about her two brothers being the first African American students to integrate a school in Virginia. Jamar recalls her experiences in public and private schools along with the unequal treatment she received compared to her white classmates, especially in terms of college and career advising in high school.
In speaking of her time at Brown, Jamar similarly touches upon the lack of advising and being counseled against math programs that interested her. She describes race relations on campus, being one of only six African American women students in her class, and feeling the absence of inclusivity. Jamar goes on to vividly recall the 1968 walkout, describing the original letter drafted to Brown’s President, Raymond Heffner, the subsequent march down College Hill to the Congdon Street Baptist Church, and the emotional and physical effects this experience had on her. She was the face and voice of the movement in part because of an iconic photo taken during the march and published in the student newspaper.
Jamar then reviews her career as it began in Providence at the Urban Education Center. This led to a graduate degree in Cognitive Psychology from Brown and teaching in Nigeria and a professorship at the University of Pittsburgh. She concludes with her thoughts on race, diversity, and inclusion at Brown and in the United States.
Jamar has requested that her interview not be available online. To request access to the audio and transcript for this interview, please email the Pembroke Center Archivist at [email protected]
For more information about the 1968 walkout, visit: https://library.brown.edu/create/protest6090/1968-walkout/
To hear the original letter to President Heffner read in the authors’ voices, visit: https://www.wgbh.org/news/national-news/2018/12/05/fifty-years-ago-black-students-at-brown-walked-out-for-change