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Common Experience 2014-2015: Exploring Democracy’s Promise: From Segregation to Integration  

Last Updated: Aug 1, 2014 URL: http://libguides.txstate.edu/commonexperience2014-2015 Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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There are many lectures and other events planned in conjunction with the Common Experience this year.

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2014-2015 Common Experience: Exploring Democracy's Promise

The 2014-2015 Common Experience theme is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Texas State University, known in 1963 as Southwest Texas State College. In January of 1963 Judge Ben H. Rice ruled that SWT could not deny admission to an African-American student based solely on race. After the ruling, in the fall of 1963, 18-year-old Dana Jean Smith, a graduate of Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, enrolled at SWT. The registrar personally assisted Smith in registering along with four other African American students — Georgia Hoodye, Gloria Odoms, Mabeleen Washington, and Helen Jackson.

This Common Experience theme explores the trials of segregation and the impact of integration, raising the question of how we internalize change in this a 50-year celebration of the desegregation of Texas State. A closer exploration of desegregation reveals a long and difficult struggle to achieve one of modern democracy's great promises, equal access to a quality education. Specifically, we use this 50-year anniversary of the desegregation of our institution as an opportunity to examine issues related to equal access to higher education and the role of laws, litigation, and civil rights movements in helping students obtain higher education. This theme also makes a connection to the 2008-2009 Common Experience theme, "Civic Responsibility and the Legacy of LBJ," celebrating our most famous alumnus, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Bringing LBJ into the conversation emphasizes the role he played in making these changes happen and helps build pride in Texas State and its graduates.

 

The Book: Coming of Age in Mississippi

The common reading exploring the issues of segration and integration will be Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody.

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Coming of Age in Mississippi - Anne Moody
Call Number: E185.97.M65 A3
Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till's lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life. An all-A student whose dream of going to college is realized when she wins a basketball scholarship, she finally dares to join the NAACP in her junior year. Through the NAACP and later through CORE and SNCC she has first-hand experience of the demonstrations and sit-ins that were the mainstay of the civil rights movement, and the arrests and jailings, the shotguns, fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs and deadly force that were used to destroy it. A deeply personal story but also a portrait of a turning point in our nation's destiny, this autobiography lets us see history in the making, through the eyes of one of the footsoldiers in the civil rights movement.

 

Common Experience

'The Common Experience brings students together to read and engage with a powerful text, explore related themes in University Seminar classes, write responses and reactions to the text in writing courses, participate in related symposia with scholarly panels, hear renowned and respected speakers address the topic, see films related to the Common Experience theme, explore the experience by way of the fine arts, engage in informal discussions in residence halls and coffee shops, and extend the exploration via the avenues of their own choosing.'

- Common Experience website

Undergraduate Instruction Librarian

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Jessica McClean

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