The First Wall of Denial

To make sure that no black women applied for admission, counselors at MSCW went to great lengths to deny access to application materials. In the 1960s, all prospective students wrote to the school to request catalogues and application forms. As the only authorized source of these materials, MSCW managed to maintain a tight rein on its admissions process. If a prospective student had a name that sounded “black” or came from a town or high school with a high black population, her letter was placed in a file titled “Letters From Prospective Students (Considered Wise Not to Answer)” with a note explaining the decision. That student would not receive any application materials.

All of the materials were found in the papers of President Charles P. Hogarth or his administration, suggesting that he authorized and/or approved of these procedures. The names of prospective students and admissions staff have been redacted for privacy.

Letters from Prospective Students, 1964-65.
Mississippi University for Women Archives. Charles P. Hogarth Collection.