Browse Exhibits (6 total)

History, Progression, and Stagnation of Race within W&L Athletics

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Viewing race relations through the lens of athletics is powerful. Just because a school has students of color does not mean those students are fully engaged, empowered members of the community. Athletics, by requiring communication and cooperation within a team, can help create that engagement and empowerment in a way that affects the student body as a whole.

The purpose of this memorial is to portray and celebrate the history of African Americans at Washington and Lee through athletics while also raising questions about W&L's current diversity. The first section of this memorial is the school's history, where we discuss instances of racism that plagued Washington and Lee's athletic events, even before the school accepted students of color. Next, we will highlight the progress the athletic department has made through the inclusion of black athletes on their teams. Finally, the exhibit will also view the lack of growth in the number of black students in athletics. 

Mama says First Negroes are history

      - "Making History," Marilyn Nelson

Everybody Black is my hometown team

      - "I'm rooting for Everybody Black," Cortney Lamar Charleston

Protests/ Marches: The Confederate Flag On Campus


An exhibition covering the controversy about removing the Confederate flags from Lee Chapel.  

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Protests/Marches: A Deeper Look Into the Time Surrounding Dr. King's Death in 1968

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we was going to try and save you but
now i guess you got to save yourselves 

-Lucille Clifton, "the meeting after the savior gone"

This exhibit looks into the time surrounding Dr. King's death in the spring of 1968, analyzing Ring-tum Phi articles during the weeks before and after his assassination. 

Protests/Marches: Lexington's First Martin Luther King Day Parade

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This exhibit provides an account of the first parade honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. in Lexington, including information about the conflicts leading up to it, in relation to local Lee-Jackson Day traditions. 

He was a prose poem.

He was a tragic grace.

He was a warm music.

-Gwendolyn Brooks, "Martin Luther King, Jr."

Remembering Struggle: Exploring the Realities of Integration at Washington & Lee


The black student experience at Washington & Lee is unique in some respects, because brutal episodes of U.S. history remain so visible here. Integration and coeducation created a path towards better diversity at Washington & Lee; however, Washington & Lee's historic connection to Lost Cause mythology strongly affects the current social and academic cultures of the institution. The mission of this exhibit is to:

1. Investigate the black student experience.

2. Compare past experiences to current experiences, measuring any significant changes.

3. Educate readers on the importance of intersectionality on campus. Does the black woman have a space in W&L's history?

4. Encourage readers to remember the unique experiences that W&L's historical space forces black students to have.

5. To reflect on the importance of the black student.

 Black Student Interviews at Washington and Lee

Four researchers interviewed two black students each from every current class at Washington & Lee. They used questions from similar interviews conducted in 1997 by History Professor Robert McAhren and others. A summary of the is attached for comparison purposes.

A Flash Forward: Has the Black Student Experience at W&L Shifted?

The exhibit also includes individual reflections from the researchers addressing shifts in the tones of the interviews and their implications for the overall picture of the black student experience. 

Black Women: The Intersection of Coeducation and Integration at Washington and Lee University

This section addresses the importance of the Black Woman. Washington & Lee's troublesome history has created a more difficult path for individuals experiencing intersecting oppression. This collection explores many articles and images that highlight this specific experience.

Washington and Lee University Students and Staff Take Action

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A series of sources documenting students and staff striving to make a change on campus.

Washington and Lee University's controversial past is no secret. Lexington is saturated with confederate history and holds ties to slavery. However, the people of W&L and Lexington will not let this define them forever. This exhibit displays the campus's history and documents how people stepped up to create a different, inclusive, and more diverse environment since the 1700's.

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a

    bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second

    generation full of courage issue forth; let a people

    loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of

    healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing

    in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs

    be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now

    rise and take control.

-Margaret Walker, "For My People"