The Multiplier Effect: Recruitment and Bringing Dartmouth Home (Anne Johnakin '23, Fall '21)

This exhibit centers around the oral history interview I conducted with Ronald Talley, class of 1969, in October 2021. Ron was a sociology major and did reasearch with the Community-University Center for Inner-City Change in Roxbury, MA. In his junior year, he worked as a resident tutor in Andover, MA for students in the A Better Chance program. After graduating, Ron was hired as a counselor with the Office of Research and Counseling and the next year, he taught a class in the newly formed Black Studies Program. 

Dartmouth at the time was an all-male institution steeped in tradition. There were only fifteen Black students in Ron's class and the Black community in the Upper Valley was nearly nonexistent. This was the middle of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. For Black students entering Dartmouth, there was no guidebook on how to survive and thrive at a rural predominately white institution. The changes that would take place to make Dartmouth more welcoming to Black students were pioneered by the current Black students. They formed the Afro-American Society, started the Black Studies program, and created mechanisms to support each other. The Dartmouth administration was generally supportive, but the labor, intiative, and credit largely belongs to the Black alumni of Dartmouth.

I am excited to share this exhibit with you, and I hope this is an opportunity to reflect on the labor and sacrifice it took from students to make change at elite institutions. Many thanks to Ron for sharing his story, my professors Julia Rabig and Bryan Winston, and the folks at Rauner Special Collections. 


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