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Desegregation at Centre College: 1960's


"Boles Natatorium," The Centrepiece, Vol 10. No.2, January 1969, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • There is a photo related to the article about fifth graders at Toliver coming to Centre for swimming lessons, football games, etc. There is clearly a white student giving a swimming lesson to an African American boy showing post Civil Rights Movement progress.  


"Centre Coeds Were 'Big Sisters' to A Group of Nineteen Girls at Danville's Toliver School," The Centrepiece, Vol 1. No.1, August 1969, Pg 21, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

Similar to the "Boles Natatorium" article, there is an African American girl pictured. It would be interesting to find out if these programs were targeted to minorities or not.  

Centre College, Olde Centre Yearbook, 1964, Pg. 7, 14, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

On the 7th page of the Yearbook, there is a photo of a few students dressed in suites with what appears to be black face. On the 14th page there are a group of men also dressed in suites with black face and sunglasses. This is interesting because this is one year prior to the integration of the college. Did students just stop doing these things or is that something that continued even while black students were on campus. 

The Centrepiece, Vol 6, August 1965, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

In the list of 1965 graduates, it appears Timothy Aye Kusi, from Ghana, (the first Black student to be integrated into Centre) graduated. Interestingly, he is listed last. There does not appear to be an order to the listing of names.  

The Centrepiece, Vol.6, Nov 2, December 1964, P 6, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

James "Jim" Davis, one of Centre's four Black students, pictured in the team photo for the Basketball Squad.  

"Dying Danville Hopes Model Cities Aid Will Stem the Talent Drain,” Sept. 22, 1968, Case 12 Newspaper Clippings, Drawer 2, Danville, History of Folder, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.

On page three, a section of the Courier Journal that features Helen Fry references her as the president of the local NAACP chapter. This could be the same Helen Fisher Fry who once took a class at Centre prior to formal integration.  

"President's Column," The Centrepiece, Vol 6., No.2, December 1964, P 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

Really interesting column where President Spragens discusses an interaction with former a Danville high school principle regarding a Black student who had applied for Centre's summer time (perhaps the same one from the above citation),  where there was a misunderstanding between the Day Law and Centre's acceptance policy. Spragens states, "Centre's first full-time Negro student was enrolled in 1962. This year ('64) three more have been matriculated." Further discusses many alumni being upset that Centre did not publish the news of integration to them, feeling they were "surreptitious" in the affair. 


"Top High School Students Attended Centre's Science Program," The Centrepiece, Vol.5, August 1964, Pg 21, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

In the top photo on this page, there appears to be a Black male pictured next to an Asian male sitting in a physics class at Centre's summer science program for thirty top high school students. 27/30 were Kentucky residents. The fact that they are seated next to each other is most interesting, perhaps they feel more comfortable that way while being in a predominantly White space. 

"Urban Crisis Symposium Here to Have Top Speakers," The Centrepiece, Vol. 11, No.1 October, 1969, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

Mayor Hatcher, the first African American mayor of Indiana comes to speak at the celebration of Centre's Sesquicentennial Year.  

  1. "Won Tourney," The Centrepiece, Vol 10. No.1, March 1969, Pg 13, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • One African American student David Blake of Danville, KY is pictured on the basketball team photo. Interestingly enough, our current basketball team (2018) is not much different in terms of diversity.  

"The Alumnus/a; a special report," Centrepiece, Vol. 1, August 1960, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

At the end of this newsletter, a special report was included. On the fourth and fifth pages of this report there is an article about the mission of service for all alumni from American colleges/universities. There is a photo of two alumni "doing service" to what appears to be the black community.

"Death Takes Dudley Doneghy,Centrepiece, Vol.4, No.2, December 1962,  Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

  • There is a photo of Dudley Doneghy who was a black athletic trainer for Centre for 37 years, and died this year after retiring a few years prior. The article does not mention his race, but the picture shows it and he is listed in the Would be interesting to find out if he was the only athletic staff of color at this time. 

Primary Source Materials Access

To use materials in the Special Collections and Archives, contact Beth Morgan at for a research appointment. 24-hour notice is required