Frostburg State College African-American Faculty
In the late 1960s Frostburg State College began to respond to a State mandate that steps be taken to not only integrate the student population, but the college's faculty and staff as well. In the fall of 1969, William R. Atkinson was hired as Director of Black Admissions, and Pansye Atkinson as Coordinator of Integration. During the early 1970s, minority student enrollment, as well as the recruitment of minority staff and faculty increased significantly.
It was not always smooth. A white faculty member during this era, John Allison, not only taught psychology, but also counseled the students and used his own money to help students pay for books, bus tickets, and also locate jobs. When minority students complained about local barbers refusing to cut their hair, Allison accompanied them personally to the barbershop. John Allison also received the first honorary degree awarded by the college, this being in 1971. In 1973, under the leadership of Dr. Nelson Guild, then president of Frostburg State College, the college staged a boycott of the local country club after its board voted down membership for two African-American applicants. It was only after the country club changed its membership policy that student and most other campus groups with African-Americans began to hold functions at the club.
This photograph, from the fall of 1979 or winter of 1980, depicts African-American Frostburg State College faculty members and staff at a welcoming event sponsored by the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter. The event was held at Cumberland's Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In the front row, from the left are Carmen Jackson, Julia B. Martin, and Marie R. Torchon. In the back row, left to right are Bernard Wynder, Harry J. Bunch (NAACP President at that time), Pansye Atkinson, and Lawrence J. Dark. Two college faculty and staff members were absent when the photograph was taken, including Frostburg State College biology instructor, David Denny.
Marie Torchon taught in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature and like many faculty and staff, went out of her way to assist the growing minority student population. Torchon is also considered to be the first African-American faculty member at Frostburg and helped in the formation of the student Afro-American Society.
Dr. Nelson P. Guild (1928-2004) served as president of Frostburg State College from 1969 to 1985. Frostburg State College achieved university status and became known as Frostburg State University in July 1987.
Photograph and text: "A Century of Commitment - Frostburg State University, 1898-1998", Dr. Joseph Hoffman, and Pansye Atkinson
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008