RACE Committee history and desire for student interest

April 27, 1972

RACE Committee history and desire for renewed interest

Melissa Hield, head of the RACE (Response through Action, Commitment, and Education) Committee in 1972, wrote an article to the Sophian that combined historical perspective with an assessment of current RACE issues. According to Hield, RACE emerged in 1968 in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and was originally “dedicated to the reexamination of the Smith community, in the light of the crises of race and poverty, and to the effective role of Smith and its members as members of other communities.” House representatives were organized into subcommittees to work on different race-related issues. RACE functioned effectively through the 1968-69 and 1969-1970 school years with the help of the Black Students’ Alliance (BSA) and some of its functions were eventually absorbed into other entities, such as the Afro-American Studies Department. However, Hield cites student apathy beginning in the 1970-71 school year. She summarizes the racist incidents in Scales House and lack of impact from the Committee of Six recommendations and says that the discussions on black-white relations the previous month in 1972 had mixed success.  Her biggest grievance was that despite institutional issues around the inclusion of black people and black voices, student interest in addressing these issues remained low.

RACE committee sponsors many programs, cannot function without continued interest

[Last updated on October 29, 2018]