Speaking of History:The Words of South Carolina Librarians

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Listen to Louisa Robinson

Louisa Robinson talks about her graduate school experiences in Michigan

RW: Well, what about it in terms of quality compared with A. U.?

LR: Well, I took advanced courses and I didn't have quite as much stress. But I had to work very hard. The classes met less often. I was the only black in many of my classes. I always felt, for instance in reference, I think that until some members of the class found that I knew how to find material as well as they, I was always left alone to do my work, --you know how they do in reference -- sometimes you get together. I enjoyed the atmosphere. That was my first time being in an integrated situation.

RW: How was it? Did you feel discriminated against? You talked about some reluctance on their part to share with you.

LR: Not really. Sometimes I feel that I'm prejudiced also. So it didn't bother me really. When they found that I could carry my weight, all of that changed.

RW: What about the faculty?

LR: I didn't think that they discriminated, as far as I could tell. In fact, I often laughed because the head of the program, Mr. Gjelsness... I was the only black in his class. My name was Smith and there was also this little red-headed girl whose name was Smalls. On one occasion, Mr. Gjelsness called on one of us and confused, he said, "Oh, I have such a time keeping the two of you separated."

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