Interviews by Topic: Civil Rights

In Part 1, Elizabeth begins by talking about her high-achieving family. Educated at Harvard Dental School, her father was one of only two black dentists in Providence at that time. He was additionally active in the NAACP and a variety of community programs, pushing the same expectations he had for himself onto his daughter. Elizabeth discusses the inevitability of pursuing a PhD; her lack of choice in choosing Pembroke; and being a highly visible token among her classmates.

Anna Peña Hass, class of 1917

In the first part of the interview, Anna Peña Hass discusses early life on her family’s farm and the decision to attend Pembroke despite wanting to get married and become a nurse. Hass describes the courses she took in her two years at Pembroke and some of the formative people she met during that time. In the second part of the interview, Hass elucidates the Brown dress code and describes political events, life in Cuba, and her arrest. 

Black Alumnae at their 25th reunion, class of 1968

This oral history features three members of the class of the Pembroke College class of 1968: Marcia D. Lloyd, an artist and professor of Painting at the Massachusetts College of Art; Bernicestine E. McLeod, an information management consultant; and Sandra L. Richards, a professor of African American Studies and Theatre at Northwestern University.

Black Alumnae at their 50th Reunion, class of 1968

This interview with Black alumnae of the Pembroke College class of 1968 documents the undergraduate experiences of Marcia D. Lloyd, Bernicestine McLeod, Sandra L. Richards, and Sharon P. Wilkinson, at their 50th reunion.

Carol R. Dannenberg, class of 1966

In this interview, Carol R. Dannenberg begins by explaining her decision to attend Pembroke College. She discusses dating life, and student/professor relationships, as well as her involvement with student government, tension over curfews, the lack of role models on campus, and being involved in the Peace Corps during summer break.

Charlotte Lowney, class of 1957

In this interview, Charlotte Lowney, looking back on a 40-year career with Pembroke College and Brown University, details her upward trajectory through the ranks of the institution’s administration, beginning with her position as the secretary to Brown President Henry Merrit Wriston. In 1962, she became the director of career placement at Brown, during both an exciting and tumultuous period on the Pembroke-Brown campus.

Constance Worthington, class of 1968

In this interview, Constance Worthington begins by talking about her family’s involvement in Brown University, and her eventual decision to transfer to Pembroke College. She then discusses her challenging time at Brown being a student, single mother, and a widow, and what it was like raising a son later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Elizabeth Branch Jackson, class of 1945

In Part 1 of this interview, Elizabeth Branch Jackson begins by talking about her high-achieving family. Educated at Harvard Dental School, her father was one of only two Black dentists in Providence at that time. He was also active in the NAACP and a variety of community programs, pushing the same expectations he had for himself onto his daughter. Jackson discusses the inevitability of pursuing a Ph.D., her lack of choice in choosing Pembroke, and being a highly visible token among her classmates.

Ferelene Bailey, class of 1974

Ferelene "Nan" Bailey begins by discussing her childhood, the benefits of living overseas during her childhood, her experience applying to Brown University, and her expectations of her experience. She spends a significant amount of time discussing the various and bountiful activist groups she participated in, and more broadly, social turmoil during the seventies surrounding issues such as the Vietnam War and birth control.

Ido Jamar, class of 1969

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.

Justine Tyrrell, class of 1943

In Part 1, speaking fifty five years after her graduation, Justine Tyrrell begins her interview by noting that she is one of seventeen family members to graduate from Brown University. She states that she always knew she would attend Pembroke College and recalls asking Dean Margaret Shove Morriss for a scholarship. She briefly discusses the difficult transition from Pawtucket High School to Pembroke and mentions that her first job after graduation was at Army Security Agency as a crypt analyst.

Karen E. McLaurin, class of 1973 - First Interview

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.

Kim A. Taylor, class of 1977

This interview with Kim A.Taylor, class of 1977, was captured during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion. Taylor begins with her childhood and upbringing within a musical/artist community of Harlem, and how that led to her decision to attend Brown University. This segment of the interview includes an interesting recollection of meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr when Taylor was a child.

Maggie M. Wenig, class of 1978 - Second Interview

In her second interview, conducted in 2013, Maggie M. Wenig begins by discussing her admission to Brown University, where she was involved with the Brown University Women's Minyan. She discusses the rigor of the Religious Studies Department, the strength of its professors and their mentorship, specifically Professor Jacob Neusner, and her subsequent inspiration to go to the rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Margery Chittenden Leonard, class of 1929

Margery Chittenden Leonard’s 1982 interview reflects her tireless passion for the Equal Rights Amendment. While she discusses her classes at Brown and her dormitories, the majority of her oral history is dedicated to discussing the fierce discrimination women faced because of their gender, and the necessity of the Equal Rights Amendment as the only way to reverse all of the gender discrimination encoded in the law.

Marjorie Alice Jones, class of 1954

Marjorie Alice Jones speaks as a member of the silent generation and considers the busy, active life she’s lead despite the fact that nobody expected anything from the women of her generation. She begins Part 1 of her interview by discussing her family background and reasons for attending Pembroke College. She describes her experience as a transfer student and speaks on professors and academics, considering the closed attitude towards women in academia.

Marva E. Dates, class of 1957 and Karen E. Dates, class of 1986

In this interview recorded as a result of the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Marva E. Dates, Pembroke College class of 1957, and her niece Karen E. Dates, Brown University class of 1986, share the similarities and differences of their times on campus.

Miriam Dale Pichey, class of 1972

Miriam Dale Pichey’s interview is an energetic insight into the politics of student life at Brown University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She describes both the campus atmosphere of gendered social rules and struggling for equal representation after the Pembroke-Brown merger, and the broader political environment of student activism during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movement. She begins her interview discussing her family background and reasons for coming to the East coast to attend Brown.

Penelope A. Baskerville, class of 1968

Penelope “Penny” A. Baskerville begins Part 1 of this interview by recounting her family life and early education in New Jersey. She discusses the experience of being a racial minority at Pembroke (Baskerville was one of six Black women in her class) as well as the general novelty of the college social experience, stressing the strength of the friendships she developed. Baskerville recounts her extracurricular involvement, the founding of the Afro-American Society, and the unique nature of college in the 1960s.

Rosemary Pierrel, class of 1953

In this interview, Dr. Rosemary Pierrel Sorrentino describes her leadership as Dean of Pembroke from 1961 through 1972. Dr. Sorrentino, or Dean Pierrel as she was known to Pembrokers, reviews the rapidly changing societal norms, her perceptions of the demands upon Pembroke and upon her role as Dean, and the failure of leadership that led to the abrupt end of Pembroke College as an administrative unit within Brown University. She is quite candid about her opinions and her colleagues. She notes that shared values began to erode after 1966-67.