A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Antioch Committee on Racial Equality ACRE

Project Statement

Antioch Committee for Racial Equality (ACRE): Documenting Antioch at the Vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement 

This collection of oral histories and associated digital ephemera documents the actions of Antioch students during a period of tumultuous American history that brought Antioch College into the spotlight of national news. In 1964, The New York Times hailed Antioch College as being “at the vanguard of the civil rights movement.” That March, students’ ongoing demonstrations to protest a local barber’s refusal to cut black hair erupted into an event called a “riot” in national news. In June, the brother and two friends of Antioch College students would leave the cultural milieu of campus and Yellow Springs and head to the deep south to organize voting registration. Their disappearance in Mississippi would catalyze federal involvement in racial tensions previously left to the states, triggering federal involvement and a tidal change in the civil rights movement. In March of 1964 congress passed the public accommodations act requiring businesses to offer services to any potential customer regardless of race or other protected classes. That same year the Antioch Committee for Racial Equality(ACRE) began organizing sit-ins to force Gegner’s Barbershop to stop denying services to African Americans. These interviews are recordings of the events and experiences of some of the actors involved in the sit ins and the following conflicts that involved not only the local police but the surrounding county police forces.

There is to varying degree still conflict between Yellow Springs and its surrounding towns and counties as a result from the invasion of neighboring police forces during the subsequent “riot” that followed.

Written by

Brooke directs Oral History in the Liberal Arts for the Great Lakes Colleges Association, supporting more than 60 Mellon-funded research projects employing interview methodology and digital tools for community-based learning. In its 5th year, the program has grown into a partnership with the Global Liberal Arts Alliance to support transnational interview projects. She travels regularly offering workshops on the philosophy of oral history and critical community pedagogy. An aesthetic philosopher and oral historian who composes work in narrative, media and textiles, Brooke is a practitioner of critical and digital pedagogies. She currently chairs the Writing Program and serves as Assistant Professor of Writing & Digital Literacy at Antioch College, where she convenes the creativity and story area of practice, teaches nonfiction writing, and supports students in self design majors that engage philosophy, media, oral history, critical community studies, and contemporary art practice. Her current research locates the American quilt within a Deleuzeian aesthetic, exploring its praxis and conservation through virtuality, multiplicity, and event.

No comments