WestConn's First African-American Students

It would not be until the late 1960s that the composition of college and university student body populations began to numerically reflect the African-American populations around them in the U.S.  In a 1969 photograph, members of the then newly-formed Afro-American Club can be seen giving the “Black Power” fist salute for their yearbook photo signaling an overt change in the culture at WestConn; however,  earlier in the century, the educational possibilities were quite different for those Afro-American Club members’ parents and grandparents.  The population of African-Americans was small in Danbury in the early 1900s; in 1895, there were only 14 registered births in the City of Danbury of persons considered to be “black.” Furthermore, based on photographic evidence, there was a very small number in the community that entered Danbury High School in that period.   Yet, standing in the back row of the 1906 senior class picture for the Danbury Normal School (first graduating class of the precursor to WestConn), there is a lone young African-American woman.  

Credits

Research conducted by Brian Stevens and Mary Rieke