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Systemic Racism in Greek Life at Puget Sound in the 1960s

This digital teaching collection investigates systemic racism in Greek Life at the University of Puget Sound during the 1960s.

Systemic Racism in Greek Life at Puget Sound in the 1960s

 

Beginning with the creation of local fraternities and sororities in the 1920s, Greek organizations have been a longstanding part of student life at the University of Puget Sound. By 1927, there were five local fraternities and four local sororities, some of which designed their organizations to mirror national organizations with the hope of becoming members. President R. Franklin Thompson arrived at the university in the spring of 1942 and advocated for heightening the national profile of the university. One of the ways he did this was by attracting national Greek organizations to Puget Sound. At the height of Greek Life involvement in the mid-1960s, there were eight national fraternities and seven national sororities on campus, with the majority of students belonging to one of the organizations.

The materials in this digital teaching collection, ranging in date between 1964-1968, reflect student, faculty, administration, and community perspectives on integration in Greek life. 

To read the complete essay, visit the Overview Essay tab of this guide.

How to Use this Digital Teaching Collection

There are many components of this Digital Teaching Collection for you to explore!

  1. The Gallery: Browse the gallery of images below to get a glimpse of our digital source set. Click on the image to be taken to a digital database where you'll find a larger version of the object, more details about it, and be able to download a copy to use for research.
  2. Overview Essay: Want to understand how these archival items work together? Read our overview essay to better understand the greater context of the objects and the histories that surround them. 
  3. List of Sources: Visit the list of primary sources to read descriptive text that our librarians have written. These descriptions will help you better understand the object and will jumpstart your research. Click on the image to be taken to a digital database where you'll find a larger version of the object, more details about it, and be able to download a copy to use for research.
  4. Teaching Guide: These collections have been designed with students and educators in mind. Visit our Teaching Guide to find discussion questions, activity ideas, and complete lesson plans for K-12 and undergraduate audiences. 
  5. Additional Resources: The search for primary sources does not stop with one institution! We've listed other digital collections and repositories that have archival sources relevant to this topic as well as tips for continuing your research.

The Gallery

In this rotating gallery, you'll get a glimpse of some the items from this digital teaching collection. Click on the image to be taken to a digital database where you'll find a larger version of the object, more details about it, and be able to download a copy to use for research. To see the entire set of sources, visit the List of Sources

Newspaper opinion article with six images of people

"Pardon My Opinion…," The Trail, November 5, 1964, pg.10

The Trail is the student newspaper at the University of Puget Sound. On page 10, there is a feature titled “Pardon My Opinion,” where students are asked “What do you think of integration of the fraternities and sororities on the UPS campus?” 

Newspaper article in black and white

"NAACP Threatens with Direct Action,” The Trail, October 29, 1965, pg. 1

The Trail is the student newspaper at the University of Puget Sound. On page 1, there is an article titled “NAACP Threatens With Direct Action.” The article describes a campus visit by Tacoma National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President Frank Morris.

Typed letter on white background

Statement on discrimination in living groups, November 30, 1967

This is a statement adopted by the Administration and Faculty of the University of Puget Sound and shared by President R. Franklin Thompson.

Typed letter on white background

Letter, Spencer Stokes to R. Franklin Thompson, April 15, 1968

This letter is from Spencer Stokes, History professor at the University of Puget Sound, to R. Franklin Thompson, President of the University of Puget Sound. Stokes is a faculty advisor to a fraternity on campus and he states that he witnessed a case of racial blackballing.

Seal of National Endowment for the HumanitiersThis digital teaching collection has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this digital collection do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.