We aren’t quite done with the ‘60s. This week we travel back in time over half a century, 53 years to be exact, and take a look at the University through the reporting of The Crimson White in 1963.
Race issues: The front page of the Sept. 26 issue has a small article letting the public know that the CW would be allowed to cover race news. A provision in the student pledge prohibited news coverage of “Negro students or applicants,” but this did not pertain to the CW.
“Administrative Vice President J. Jefferson Bennett said yesterday that the prohibition against students reporting and photographing race matters would not include student publications,” the article reads.
It then goes on to explain that the CW will have to follow all the rules that pertain to the general press, meaning they cannot take pictures inside classrooms, interview students inside University buildings or make live broadcasts from campus.
The pledge disallowing members of the media to cover race-related news came after Vivian Malone and James Hood enrolled at the University over the summer.
“As a rule, summer school sessions are notoriously boring,” the article said. “…that certainly was not the case for the 1963 summer, however, as the University admitted two Negroes under court orders.”
It reports that tensions were high, and talks about Gov. George Wallace’s stand in the schoolhouse door. It notes that a special edition of the CW was published the day before the integration and that three weeks later it published a guest editorial by Hood in which he “berated demonstrators for not putting education first for the Negro race.”
“There should be more time in the classroom and less time wasted on the picket lines,” Hood said.
It is speculated that this editorial, which received a lot of attention, caused Hood to drop out.
According to the article, Hood’s editorial was “generally well accepted” in Alabama, but was “violently attacked by most Negro organizations.”
A few weeks following the printing of his editorial, Hood spoke at a “Negro rally” in Gadsden. At the rally, Hood allegedly denied writing the guest editorial.
Public drinking: Another front page story reported on a memorandum issued by the “Dean of men” that prohibited students from “consuming any beverage” in public. This was not limited to alcoholic beverages, as doing so would supposedly make it harder for police to enforce, and “public” meant outside any building.
The reason for the rule was to “abide with a Tuscaloosa ordinance against public drinking” and to “better the image of the student body.”
In the first week of this rule being in place, 30 men were sent to the Dean’s office for “infraction of the rule.” That was seen as a “modest” amount since many students didn’t even know the rule existed yet.
According the memorandum, punishment consisted of formal probation or suspension, “depending on the facts of the case.”
Ads: Advertisements say a lot about a time-period. This issue from 1963 had an ad for a $12 Arnold Palmer Windbreaker, a sad thing to see in the wake of the golfer’s death just a few days ago. There were also ads for $225 engagement rings, two ads for manly deodorant that said things like, “MAN!” and “MEN SIZE!” – the meaning of which I will leave open to interpretation – and one for $1 copies of peanuts books because, after all, “happiness really is a warm new Peanuts book.”
One of the most questionable ads in the issue was for the swingline stapler. The ad had a drawing of a naked woman on a horse and a man holding a piece of cloth.
Underneath the picture it said, “When Godiva, that famed lady fair, / Told her husband, ‘I’ve nothing to wear,’ / With his Swingline in hand, He stapled a band / And said, ‘Wear this, my dear, in your hair!’”
Photos: A photo gallery of the Union Building, the effective Ferguson Student Center of the 1960s, shows students playing pool and ping pong, going to the effective mail center of the time, and admiring the bust of former UA president George Denny.
One shocking photo shows a female student walking up the stairs while three male students look at her rear end. It ran with the caption, “Bama students study the fine arts frequently seen outside the Post Office.”