Job Half Done

William & Mary (In)action During the Civil Rights Movement
March 14, 2014 to September 14, 2014

When Lincoln freed the slaves, he undoubtedly hoped the Negroes would someday be accepted as equals by the other colors of people in this country. Today we find the Negroes released from formal bondage, but not equalized.

So began the Flat Hat editorial, “Lincoln’s Job Half-Done…” by Marilyn Kaemmerle, William & Mary class of 1945, which went on to predict that someday in the future William & Mary would desegregate and there would be increased racial intermarriage. In the waning days of World War II the editorial drew a connection between segregation and notions of white supremacy in the US with Hitler’s “Nazi race tactics.” As a result of the editorial, the Flat Hat was temporarily suspended and Kaemmerle removed as editor. But this was not the first or last action by William & Mary students, faculty, and staff during what has come to be known as the country’s long Civil Rights Movement.

Drawing from Special Collections’ University Archives holdings, this exhibit highlights selected articles, lectures and other events on William & Mary’s campus from the 1940s-1960s, that relate to the struggle for equality for all Americans. Swem Library’s Special Collections seeks to document the history of the university, including its people and events, and welcomes contributions from alumni, faculty, and staff about their own experiences.


Students chased pro-segregation members of the Peninsula Citizens' Council from campus after they picketed Brooks Hays's speech in Washington Hall. Flat Hat, March 24, 1959

Images of the exhibit are available from Swem Library on Flickr.

Curator: Amy Schindler, University Archivist; Exhibit Design: Jennie Davy, Burger Archives Specialist, with assistance from Carleigh Branch, Undergraduate Student Assistant, Andrew Cavell, SCRC Graphics Assistant, and Anna Wallace, Undergraduate Student Assistant.