Follow-Up Interview 2017_PARTII


Dublin Core


Follow-Up Interview 2017_PARTII


African American women athletes; African American college athletes; Olympics; African American universities and colleges


This is Part I of the Follow-Up Interview with Dr. Alpha Alexander for my Senior Independent Study Thesis.
***=Interview Questions

Transcript Below:

***DO: When you mention that it was strange being the only African American in some of your classes at Temple University, were you not one of the only ones in your classes taken at Wooster?

AA: No, that is not a true statement that I was the only one in my classes at the College of Wooster. I think when I was at Wooster this past I think it was October (DO: Yes) you met one of my classmate, Patsy Ratleff Stone and we actually help led the freshman orientation class and some other classes there were people of color in my class. The influx of international students, there were some there but not a lot as it is today at the College of Wooster. But, I think the difference is the College of Wooster was undergraduate and Temple University was a graduate school (DO: Okay). Uh, I went to the graduate program there but what I thought was very interesting was that it was in a setting in a large urban city in North Philadelphia. And so, my assumption even when I went to look at the Temple University considering whether or not to attend grad school there…I actually thought it was a Black institution

(DO: Giggles, I remember). Being naïve (Laughs) I guess coming from Ohio. I had not a clue that it wasn’t. It is quite, um…the population of attendance of students at that time and even faculty were literally white (DO: Hmm). And so, I was quite surprised thinking that I was going to graduate school at a Black institution and that was my assumption of my quick visit when I went to look at graduate schools in that urban area and not really taking a close look because the first day of classes there were not, there was only two other people of African American descent that was in my graduate class. (DO: Hmm).

***DO: Do you think there were more African American students at Wooster during your years there in Wooster?

AA: Well let me say this if you can think back in the…we were 1972 (DO: Umm Hmm) of the incoming class. And if you think about the pushes in the late 60s (DO: Right). Wooster really did try to outreach to bring more African Americans to the College of Wooster. Now, my class I think it was an incoming class of that of about out of 1800, 1700 students totally on campus, and in our incoming class was about twenty African Americans. But they did very heavy recruiting in the New York area as well as in the Cleveland area (DO: Okay). So, um, out of the twenty of my freshman class coming in at 1972…um, you know there were some African Americans and then upper classes at the College of Wooster, you know, there had been, you know, African Americans attending the College of Wooster.
And a lot of the recruitment and the outreach, um, I learned about Wooster through the Presbyterian church where we attended (DO: Right). A lot of African Americans from Dayton, Ohio came out of my church and ended up going to the College of Wooster. So, I think it was the timing (DO: Okay).

AA: Was it a lot in comparison? Um, you know that’s questionable. There’s twenty African Americans coming into a freshman class a lot. Well on a bigger scale no, but you know we sort of thought, we were a very close community on campus (DO: Umm Hmm. Okay).

DO: That is something I would mention is that push in the early 60s is relating to this research now. As far as the era of Title IX and Black females…Black female athletes (AA: Right).

***DO: Do you feel that there was a colorblind atmosphere when participating in sport at Wooster?

AA: It clearly was not a colorblind atmosphere when I participated in sport at the College of Wooster because it was of the timing, you know it was early 70s, you know. Integration and late 60s rolling into the 70s. I participated from 1972-76 and if you remember what was going on in the context of the United States at that time, um, color and whether or not you were colored, Black, African American all of that stuff was being discussed, you know (DO: Umm Hmm). I had a poster on my door and I really thought I was Angela Davis (DO: Laughs).
You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t Angela Davis with my afro. (DO: Laughs) Okay. You know, War (DO: Yeah) (Laughs) you know the musics was loud, the big afros were in fashion and if you look back in my class. So, I think it was the timing that I was in school at the College of Wooster that it couldn’t be that it was colorblind…um, because race, racial, integration, or segregation and, um, you know the Race Riots were in the 60s. It was a lot still on people’s minds (DO: Hmm).

DO: That probably would have been a question for current or more recent athletes if it’s a colorblind atmosphere (AA: Absolutely, I think so).

AA: And there were very few in, you know, in terms of the men’s program there were African Americans that participated in you know, football in you know, other sports but women, you know it was about me and then Jackie and that was about it, you know.

DO: Jackie?
AA: Yeah, Jackie Lewis (DD: Oh, yes) remember I told you she was from Cleveland (DO: Yes).

***DO: Who was Ginny Hunt to you?

AA: Well, uh Ginny Hunt was my volleyball coach (DO: Okay) Okay, she was the volleyball coach at the College of Wooster. Uh, she also, you know, taught. You know, she was a professor there. But Ginny Hunt, really…who was she to me? Not only being the volleyball coach, because doing my four years there, she ended up leaving and she went to, if I am not mistaken, the University of North Carolina, um, but instrumental, she was very instrumental in me getting to get a graduate assistantship at Temple University (DO: Okay).

Ginny Hunt knew Carole Oglesby and she made a call on my behalf to Dr. Oglesby and told Dr. Oglesby about me. And as a, in result ended up getting a graduate assistantship at Temple University. So, she was a major impact even though she, you know, had left Wooster. I continued to stay in contact with her and, uh, as you know in my story, I did not play volleyball my freshman year at Wooster. I thought I had to really study (DO: Umm Hmm) and pay attention to my classes (DO: Right). So, consequently I missed out my freshman year playing volleyball. But then the second year, you know, I ended up playing on the team, making the team and playing. But she was very instrumental later on in my career going on to graduate school (DO: Okay).

***DO: Is there anything else regarding this project that you’d like to share?

AA: Well, I’d just like to thank you for including me in on your research project. And it has been a pleasure to work with you and I hope its…my input has been helpful (DO: Absolutely). And you know, for the future in light of the state of where this country is, you know, women in sport is still going to be going forward. There may be psychologically, or legislatively a lot of things done to the laws in this country that will impact for example, like Obamacare and things of that sort (DO: Hmm)

…the wellness and health of women. The YWCA of the USA, I wanted to go back to that question. You know, we were really known for elimination of racism by any means necessary (DO: Malcolm X!). And that was a powerful statement because a lot of people confused it with the YMCA, you know, which was a whole, totally different mission than the YWCA. But also, another large part of the YWCA of the USA was about wellness of women. They had a national breast cancer program called ENCORE, for anyone who even thought about breast cancer in terms of the impact that, you know, psychologically. They had a program that you could go through and as well as in combination with exercise when women were having radical mastectomies at that time (DO: Hmm).

AA: So, the YWCA of the USA played a very instrumental role, I think of wellness of women period, you know in the United States. So (DO: Umm Hmm).

DO: Everything that is going on just really encourages me, pushes me to keep striving for excellence. Especially, you know you talk about the medical care and things like that because that is my ultimate goal, like I shared with you before is to become an Ob/Gyn (AA: Right).
But women’s health overall, even in this project this is something I was, I am passionate about. And so, just it’s rewarding to do this kind of work, but I look forward to seeing what I can do in the future with this type of work.

AA: Right, well you got a bright future ahead of you.







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The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio