1600 Grand Ave
St. Paul MN 55105
Being the first student from KC
WillieMae Carey Wilson
As part of the Civil Rights movement, some Macalester College students created a student exchange program with two (2) historically African American colleges in the south: Knoxville College (KC) in Knoxville, TN, and Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA in 1962. I was the first student from KC to come up to Macalester to study in September 1962. I am honored to be counted as a1964 alumna of both colleges. My favorite memories are of the times that I spent with Carol Huenemann Eick, Marilyn Hoff, Mary Oesterhuis Snyder (roommate), Nancy McMartin Henderson (roommate), Gail Dufelmeier Stremel, and Edie Ellis going to the International House, to activities both on-campus and off-campus, eating pizza, and listening to "Peter, Paul, and Mary". One of my biggest adventures was finding my way to an off-campus African American beauty salon using directions given to me by Yolanda Ridley (first African-American Homecoming Queen for Mac) to get my first "perm". My car ride home to Birmingham, Alabama in a carload of white, Mac students at Christmas time was also quite "scary" as we traveled from the "North to the deep South" in 1962 before the passage of the Civil Rights Bill.
First Macites in Knoxville
Carol Huenemann Eick
Marilyn Hoff and I were the first Macites to head south for the exchange program with Knoxville College in 1962. The two students who agreed to be our roommates were wonderful. It was intriguing to sort out what was "southern" culture and what was "black." For example, women wore stockings and high heels to class. Students always "spoke" when crossing paths, with eye contact and smiles. So KC seemed both more formal and friendlier than our northern Mac campus. I went to Atlanta on the Trailways bus with Haroldeen for Easter vacation, a quiet witness compared to the Freedom Riders who forced integration. Some of us left the Howard Johnsons restaurant in protest when our group was not served together. The 50 year reunion of Mac and KC exchange students in 2012 at Macalester was an amazing time sharing what these folks have been doing in the years since that "civil rights era."
Phoebe Wood Busch
Carolyn Ekelund and I shared a room on the first floor of Turck Hall during freshman and sophomore year. Across the hall lived a terrific upperclasswoman, Yolanda Ridley, whom many will remember fondly. By 1963 Carolyn was planning her August wedding to Ron Mogen. In May of that year my mother and I gave a bridal shower in her honor to be held at the Highland Park Country Club in St. Paul. Of course, we invited Yo.
As the event approached we had not heard from our friend and asked her why. Reluctantly she confessed that she was afraid that the country club would not admit her! We, naive and clueless, were very taken aback. My mother immediately spoke with the club director who assured her that there would be no problem. With some misgivings Yo agreed to attend and all went well.
Yolanda was one of the first African-Americans to attend Macalester. She stayed in the dorm, even as a senior, because she was afraid local residents would not rent to her The incipient civil rights movement took on new urgency for me.