GATHERING OUR MEMORIES: REFLECTIONS OF MULTICULTURAL STUDENT LIFE AT CARLETON, 1874-2000
By 1968, the Algol staff proclaimed that "[e]ven as a protected and protective institution, the College in its isolation could not long avoid the hard realities of assassinations, the struggles for civil rights, and the horrors of Viet Nam." The decade of the 1960s brought change to the campus with regard to a multicultural presence. Milestones that marked the beginning of the '60s included the graduation of the first two Black female collegiate students and the enrollment of the first Black African foreign student.
In 1962, Carleton's Admissions Office actively began to seek African American students though the numbers did not increase a great deal immediately. Two years later, Carleton was one of six schools nationally awarded a large grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, intended to help attract and support larger numbers of multicultural students, particularly African Americans. Black enrollment started to increase significantly in 1965 and continued to do so into the 1970s.
In 1966, Carleton took three further steps toward meaningful diversity. It accepted a chapter of A Better Chance (ABC), to prepare underprivileged high school students for college; it finally hired its first (and, until 1972, only) Black professor, Biologist Vannie Wilson. It also admitted the first United States born Latino students.
As the Black population increased, so did Black student activism. During the latter part of the '60s, these students would form the Negro Affairs Committee (which soon became SOUL, Students Organized toward Unity and Liberation). The college responded by creating an ad hoc Committee on Negro Affairs. The work of that committee called for the increased enrollment of Black students and staff, the establishment of a Black Studies program, greater attention to student life, and increased financial aid.