Karen E. McLaurin, class of 1973 - First Interview

Karen E. McLaurin, class of 1973 - First Interview

Karen E. McLaurin was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, moved to Rockland, Massachusetts, and attended the public school system until the eighth grade when she entered Notre Dame Academy. As a young woman, McLaurin embraced volunteerism, participating in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equality CORE,, and the Black Panther Party of Boston. She is a member of the last class to enter Pembroke College, the women’s college in Brown University, entering in 1970 and graduating three years later in 1973 with her AB in sociology.

In her first interview conducted in 1994, Karen E. McLaurin begins by discussing her decision to attend Brown University, and her determination to succeed. She talks about a summer program she attended that was specifically for students who were deemed less likely to succeed at Brown. McLaurin also recalls minority students at Brown, their importance to the community and the college, as well as her experiences as an African-American woman at Brown. She discusses the various faculty members who she knew as a student and shares some of the difficulties she had with them. She goes on to explain feeling excluded from the women’s movement as an African-American, and feeling that her energies should be directed towards black rights as a whole. McLaurin talks about her involvement with various student organizations and summer activities.

McLaurin begins Part 2 discussing racism at Brown, and in society at large. She concludes the interview with a discussion of the community she participated in at Brown, about her role as a Dean, and experience as a black woman in administration at Brown.

Please note that this interview has poor audio quality. Refer to the transcript.  

Part 1

Part 2
Recorded on Oct 4, 1994

Third World Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Interviewed by Derria Byrd