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Desegregation at Centre College: Cento Newspapers

Newspapers Access

The Cento is available on microfilm, located on the lower level of the library. For help using the microfilm reader, please see the Reference Librarian on duty. Microfilm is available for use any time the library is open.

While microfilm is the easiest and preferred method to access Centos, bound issues are available in the rare books room. Contact Beth Morgan at beth.morgan@centre.edu if you require access to bound issues. 24-hour notice is required.

Cento Citations

  1. “A beginning...” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 13, 1972, Pg. 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room

    1. and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The Black-White Coalition had a meeting and discussed what their goal would be, which was to be an open place for student an staff to discuss any problems they had at Centre concerning discrimination or issues concerning race. They also discussed having a Black Student Union office that would help those who have financial aid to find ways to take part in special activities. 

  1.  “A Campus Figure Recalls Outstanding Athletic Performers,” Centre College Cento, May 14, 1964, Pg. 6,

    1. Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • A “campus figure” recalls outstanding Centre athletic performers. He was a black football trainer and in the article the writer refers to him as Robert, just Robert, with no last name. (His full name may have been Robert Guest) 

  1. “A statement, a question," The Centre College Cento, Feb. 2, 1973, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • A meeting was scheduled to discuss the issues that arose surrounding the BSU’s lounge in the basement of Yerkes. Fights erupted, and several inappropriate comments were made. The article ends with a few questions that could guide a reader into thinking differently about the different experiences black students may have in comparison to white students.  

  1. “Advisory Board condemns ‘White Sheets’ Dispute.” The Centre College Cento, March 23, 1973, Pg. 1,8,

    1. Thoms A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The advisory board discussed how they planned to prevent another racially charged incident like what happened during the intramural game between the Black Student Union and the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity 

  1. “Advisory Board does nothing...” The Centre College Cento, April 20, 1973, Pg. 1, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Ollie Taylor, a black student who was the Student Congress President, expressed a proposal to the board that he believed could improve race relations on campus, but nothing was done.   

  1. “Advisory Board hits dour issues,” The Centre College Cento, Feb.9, 1973, Pg. 1, Thomas A. Spragens

    1. Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The advisory board discussed several issues, one of which was Ollie Taylor’s report about the event that took place in Yerkes. During the meeting, no decision was made about what action should be taken. 

  1.  “And more letters...” The Centre College Cento, April 20, 1973, Pg 5, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • One letter discusses the issues a student congress president would have to face when taking the office. The author mentioned that the divisions between black and white students was a challenge that needed to be addressed. They believed that unity is imperative in order to improve things.  

  1. “And more letters....” The Centre College Cento, March 16, 1973, Pg. 5, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • One letter stated how Jay Anderson was appalled at the action s of those who wore the white sheets at the intramural basketball game between the Black Student Union and the Delta Kappa Epsilon. He stated that they needed to learn to respect their peers. The other letter is contains an apology from members of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for wearing the white sheets to the game. 

  1. “Approves court action on barber shops,” The Centre College Cento, March 3, 1972, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Ollie Lee Taylor wrote a letter to express his appreciation to everyone who helped participated in the fight against discrimination in the local barbaer shops. He also wrote about the work that still needed to be done which included holding Danville accountable and continue to push for change in other areas within the community.  

  1. “B-W Coalition having get together,” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 6, 1972, Pg.

    1. 1, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The Black White Coalition hosted an informal get together and encouraged all of Centre’s residents to attend.  

  1. “Barbershop Cartoon,” The Centre College Cento, April 22, 1971, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Cartoon in the Cento of two black men in a barbershop, one of them saying, “I’m sorry, I’m just not trained to wash a black man’s hair”  

  1. “Black studies director to speak at convo.” The Centre College Cento, Nov. 4, 1971, Pg. 11, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The article gives a quick introduction of the man who spoke at a convocation and has a piece by Robert L. Williams (a black studies director), called Slow Down Black Man. This piece shares the struggles of a black man who feels as if there is no momentum for the progress he is pushing for progress. At the same time, there were white people who were concerned that the changes were happening “too fast” and voiced their needs to slow down.  

  1. “Black-White coalition to hold meeting March 16,” The Centre College Cento, March 10, 1972 Pg. 10,

    1. Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, Ky. 

  • The Black White Coalition advertised its third meeting. The article shares that anyone was welcome to attend, and in that meeting, the members planned to discuss any racial issues.  

  1. “Black-White group calls for honesty.” The Centre College Cento, March 30, 1973, Pg. 1,5, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The Black-White group held a meeting discussing the issues surrounding race that were prevalent on Centre’s campus. They also asked that others would be honest about the relationships that had been established disregarding race. 

  1. “Burse Named Rhodes Scholar.” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 12, 1973, Pg. 1, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Ray Burse, who started the Black Student Union and served as its first president, was named a Rhodes Scholar. He was active in working with other BSU members in recruiting black students for Centre 

  1. “Campus organizations plan activities,” The Centre College Cento, April 28, 1972, Pg. 5, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Fulton Brock writes about those he feels are underrepresented. 

  1. Cardinal and Blue. 1914. Pg. 59. Sophomore Victors, 1914. Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and

    1. Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Two of the men in the photo are in black-face. The photo seems to be in relation either to “flag rush” or some sort of hazing rituals that occurred between the different classes. 

  1. “Carnival to have a new twist,” The Centre College Cento, April 13, 1973, Pg. 1, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The Black Student Union planned to use Carnival to welcome and attract potential black prospective students  

CENTO Studies Black Problems” and “Black Presence on Campuses Overdue,” Centre College Cento, Nov.

21, 1969, Pg. 5, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

This is an important article that speaks about the issues of the low enrollment of black students in predominantly white institutions and some of the reasoning behind it such as finances, unpreparedness of black students, black separatism, etc. etc. It allows readers to see the world from the perspectives of whites in institutions like Centre at the time. A perspective that would be viewed as absurd to most today.  

“Centre and Danville Should Integrate Fully,” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 21, 1971, Pg. 4,

Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

An opinion piece regarding the picketing of segregated barbershops, comments on Ollie Taylor’s campaign, and explains that Centre should be an example for Danville as to what integration looks like. There is also a corresponding cartoon. 

“Centre Obtains Four New Professors: Henriquez-Urena, Rogers, Payne, Moles,” The Centre College

Cento, Sept. 23, 1959, Pg. 3, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.  

This article welcomes new professors, one of which was Professor Camila Henriquez-Urena, who was Cuba

“Centre’s Student Body Comes from 31 States, Five Foreign Countries,” The Centre College Cento,

Oct. 7, 1959, Pg.7, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

This article highlights Centre’s “diverse” student body that includes students from five different countries. One student from England, Iran, and Japan and two from France  

“Conflict erupts over BSU lounge.” The Centre College Cento, Feb. 2, 1973, Pg. 1, Thomas

A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

This is the first article in this edition that explains the conflict over the BSU lounge and expands on how the administration apologized for not discussing the new decision with the residents. It also highlights some of the conversation that BSU members had with the residents about the formation of the lounge. 

“Conversation: BSU hit attitudes of students, administrations and SC” and "Blacks plan to test fraternities

hope to raise black enrollment,” Centre College Cento, Oct. 22, 1970, Pgs. 4-5, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

An incredible article that is a Q and A with representatives from the Black Student Union. It sheds light on the perspectives of some black students at the time. In the second paragraph on the first page, Mason is quoted saying, “The students here tend to rather ignore the problem, they just don’t realize the problem between the blacks and whites…” This particle article was not actually published in the Cento, but another newspaper called Buzzword that was created by students who felt like the campus newspaper (The Cento) was not doing a good job at reflecting the views of the student body. During this time there were a few other newspapers that were created for the same reasons. 

"Convo speaker outlines black political structure,” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 6, 1972, Pg. 5, Thomas

A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.

James A. Joseph spoke at a convocation on black political structure. He is quoted saying, “black politics is an attempt to acquire and use power to influence the distribution of power”. He believed that new black political structure would empower African Americans. 

  1. “Doggett Here for Christmas,” The Centre College Cento, 1959, Pg. 1, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Bill Doggett, a well-known black Jazz and Rhythm and Blues artist, was scheduled to performed at the Christmas Dance in 1959  

  1. “Doubts Fraternity Function,” The Centre College Cento, March 10, 1972, Pg. 2,6, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This article was a letter that was continued from the March 3 issue. The writer wrote about several issues that he had with the fraternities.  He believed that if race was not an issue, there were students who would find another way to discriminate. He also believed that the friendships were forces and lacked authenticity.  

  1. “Dr. Benjamin Mays to Speak at Seminar and Convocation,” Centre College Cento, March 30, 1960, Pg.

    1. 3, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Dr. Benjamin Mays was scheduled to speak at a Seminar and Convocation at Centre. At the time, he was the President of Morehouse College, an all-male, historically black college. 

  1. “Dr. Henriquez Tells Club Otero About Castro and Cuban Question,” Centre College Cento, Oct. 28,

    1. 1959, Pg. 1, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Article written to highlight Professor Henriquez-Urena’s talk on Fidel Castro that was held on campus 

  1. “Federal court to hear Danville barbershops case,” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 13, 1972, Pg. 1,8,

    1. Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • There were barbershops in Danville that did not cut the hair of balck customers. After realizing this Centre students in conjunction with community members, brought light to the discrimination which eventually appeared in a federal court hearing 

  •  

  1. “Future of rights movement discussed in next convo.” The Centre College Cento, November 11, 1971,

    1. Pg.4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This article contains a brief explanation of the convocation that was approaching. It includes a short biography of Rev. Andre Young who was a civil rights activist. 

  1. Gardenia Court, Black Student Union weekend to highlight spring activities.” The Centre College

    1. Cento, March 24, 1972, Pg. 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • At that time, the Black Student Union wanted to introduce black high school students to Centre through a weekend created to appeal to those students. It included an assortment of activities and may be the beginning of what Centre now calls “Diversity Weekend”. 

  1. Glidden, John, “Centre Student John Glidden Reports on Recent Marc to Montgomery,” The Centre

    1. College Cento, 1965, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • White male student documents his experiences at the March to Montgomery from Selma. The article contains pictures that were taken by him. 

  1. Gober, Patricia. “Taylor Plans Barber Litigation,” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 21, 1971, Pg. 1,

    1. Thomas A Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This is an article about Ollie Taylor, a Centre student who led the efforts to desegregate Danville Barbershops the previous spring. The Cento staff interviewed Taylor to get updates on the current situation as well interviewing other students on their opinions. 

  1. “In White America,” The Centre College Cento, Sept. 26, 1969, Pg. 7, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book

    1. Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This article references a play about the history of black Americans, from “slave ships to the present day” and involved the audience in the real-life problems of race and poverty. 

  1. “Judge Mac Swinford Rules in Favor of Summary Judgement,” The Centre College Cento, Feb. 3, 1972,

    1. Pg. 5, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • A Cento article that explains the next steps in the lawsuit filed against the barbers in Danville that refused to cut black hair. The article emphasizes how students were determined to find a solution to put an end to segregation, even if the case was not ruled in their favor. 

  1. “Letters to the editors...” The Centre College Cento, March 16, 1973, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare

    1. Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Members of the Black Student Union had an intramural basketball team and the opposing team was made up of Dekes. There were Deke pledges who came dressed as the KKK and the black students did not see that as a joke or humorous in any way. They wanted to be respected without having to encounter this type of behavior at Centre.  

  1. “Letters to the editors...” The Centre College Cento, March 23, 1973, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare

    1. Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.

  • The first letter, “Seeks respect...” states that the sentiment displayed by the black students is not exclusive to the black students. Many others also felt that the disrespect was inappropriate. A student writes, “I would ask respect for black people as I ask respect for all people and for myself”. 

  1. “Little Anthony and the Imperials,” The Centre College Cento, Dec. 11, 1964, Pg. 2, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • An advertisement for a black male group called Little Anthony and the Imperials that performed at the Christmas Dance that year. 

  1. “Martin Replies to Sterling,” The Centre College Cento, Feb. 11, 1972, Pg. 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare

    1. Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Martin expresses his positive feelings towards the non-discriminatory rush season that was beginning with the fraternities, but also expresses the issues that arose, including a student, William Jackson, who discontinued the process after one week. There had been several questions of racism at play, but Martin begged those with similar question to come forward and address them so that those issue could be resolved.  

  1. McHany, Al. “I’m glad our number has changed, but that ratio.” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 3,

    1. 1969, Pg. 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This was a cartoon that shows two men reading a Cento headline, “Centre Enrolls Fourteen Blacks: Two Men and Four Women…” 

  1. “Open your eyes,” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 6, 1972 Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room

    1. and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This article speaks to those who claim Centre’s campus does not have students who are discriminated against. It attempts to show that the social programs on campus do not reflect what they thought was a diverse student population.  

  1. Ourisman, David. “Mrs. Geo-Jaja describes experiences in Biafra.” The Centre College Cento, Mar. 11,

    1. 1971, Pg. 2, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • This article highlights Mrs. Jaja who worked in the library after escaping the Nigerian Civil War and being separated from her husband. She was a native to Lebanon, KY, but was married to a Nigerian who was “Biafran” (when Nigeria went through the civil war, the section of the country that wanted to secede was name ‘Biafra’. After the war that term was no longer used because the war was horrible, and that term brings up nothing but bad memories during a dangerous time in Nigeria’s history. People who claim to be ‘Biafrans’ today, are looking for trouble). This article was written during time where she was still waiting for her husband to join them in the U.S. 

  1. Pike, Burnell, “Opportunity Knocks,” The Centre College Cento, 1964, Pg. 4, Thomas A. Spragens Rare

    1. Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY.

  • Article written on Joyce Cross and Sharon Gill who were the first black women to integrate the women’s dorms and were officially the first black women to be enrolled at the College. They would also go on to be the first black women to graduate from Centre. (The first woman to attend Centre was technically Helen Fisher Fry) 

  1. Rappaport, Chuck. “Blacks Edge Dekes in Title Contest.” The Centre College Cento, March 11, 1971,

    1. Pg. 7, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • An article in the Cento that highlights the intramural basketball game between the Dekes and members in the Black Student Union 

  1. Rapport, Chuch. “I’m really not surprised...” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 12, 1973, Pg. 3, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Rappaport expresses his lack of surprise when Ray Burse, senior black student, received the Rhodes Scholarship. He said that racism had been on of Burse’s biggest fights. 

  1. Reeves, Alan. “Barbers Tested for Lawsuit.” The Centre College Cento, April 22, 1971, Pg. 1, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • A group of students tested vario8us barbershops around Danville for racial discrimination by going in and asking for a haircut—most shops would still not serve them. 

  1. Reeves, Alan, “Judge Swinford issues order enjoining Danville barbers to stop discriminating,” The

    1. Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • The article explains how the judge ordered the barbers to integrate. Centre’s Dean expressed his excitement, along with another professor. There appears to be a positive reaction from faculty and staff members which may represent the attitudes of the leadership at this time.  
  1. “Rumor that Mafia behind barbershop integration put to rest,” The Centre College Cento, Dec. 9, 1972, Pg.

    1. 3, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Letter to the editor from Robert M. Posey to explain the Mafia was not behind the barbershop integration.  

  1. Staples, Sally. “Ebony Editor to Speak at Convo Tuesday,” The Centre College Cento, Jan. 28, 1971, Pg.

    1. 1, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Lerone Bennett Jr. was a Fellow at the Institute for Black Studies at the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Atlanta, GA. He was also the Senior Editor with Ebony Magazine. Bennett came to Centre to speak at a convocation during the winter term. 

  1. “Students Here Still ‘Niggers,” The Centre College Cento, Sept. 26, 1969, Pg. 2, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Article about the co-ed housing experiments uses the term ‘Niggers’ to describe those who were uninterested in the experiment. The writer defends the use of the term, arguing it has nothing o do with the color of skin but as a “peculiar lethargy of the mind”. The article begins with a quote that describes students in this way saying “…They (students) are pathetically eager to be pushed around. They are like those old grey headed house niggers you can still find in the south who don’t see what all the fuss is about…” This article could shed light on the true meaning of the use of “Nigger” in reference to black Americans even though this author was not referencing black students. 

  1. Taylor, Ollie. “Letters to the editors....” The Centre College Cento, Feb. 2, 1973, Pg. 4, Thomas

    1. A. Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Ollie Taylor discusses the Black Student Union’s lounge that was in the basement of Yerkes. He explains how it serves as their cultural space and shares the difficulties the members have experienced due to the tension between the residents and the BSU  

  1. Taylor, Ollie, "Bussing offers the hope of higher educational standards for the students of this

    1. country,” The Centre College Cento, March 10, 1972, Pg. 2, Thomas A Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Taylor, a black student, writes about the importance of bussing and emphasizes how these changes are valuable to a student's education. He challenges people to deal with problems that are “both educational and urban. 

  1. “The Fiestas,” Centre College Cento, May 7, 1964, Pg. 1, Thomas A. Spragens Rare Book Room and

    1. Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • An advertisement on the Fiestas, a group that performed at Centre during Carnival Weekend. 

  1. Willard, John. “Meet the Black Student Union...” The Centre College Cento, Oct. 27, 1972, Thomas

    1. A, Spragens Rare Book Room and Archives, Centre College Danville, KY. 

  • Willard introduces the Black Student Union and explains what they had accomplished regarding the increase in enrollment of black students at Centre. Willard also writes about the struggles the organization faced after their funding was decreased. The BSU was also denied an office and a phone. They also found that despite the BSU’s efforts to recruit black students, they found that the low percentage of black students within the student body turned many potential students away from attending Centre.