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TCU Diverse History Project

Created by Women & Gender Studies and Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies, the TCU Diverse History Project encourages the university to research, engage, and learn from histories of race, gender, sexuality, and other social identities at TCU. The goal of the project is to empower all members of the TCU community to engage with these histories, which are sometimes inspirational and worthy of celebration, and sometimes troubling and embedded in ongoing legacies of discrimination, violence, and exclusion. By studying these histories and understanding our place in them, we are better situated to create the diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus to which we all aspire.

Have you ever explored TCU’s impressive Digital Collections and Archives? WGST and CRES faculty have developed an assignment template and collaborative google document to encourage students to utilize this rich archive to research the history of TCU. To date, over 200 students have engaged with the project in 10 different WGST and CRES classes. Topics have included:

  • Women of color at TCU
  • Queer student activism and LGBTQ student experience on campus
  • The implementation of Title IX in 1970
  • Discourse about migration and undocumented residents

We hope to assemble class findings into an online archival exhibit to better share the archival objects that have been uncovered. The TCU Diverse History Project assignment gathered useful archival materials for what we hope will become an online exhibit of TCU History.

One class project, for WGST/CRES 30303 Women of Color Feminisms in a US Context, can already be viewed here.

TCU Dance, 1979 Yearbook

The goal of the TCU Portrait Project is to honor through portraiture the diverse stakeholders–former students, faculty and staff members, and other community members–who have distinguished themselves at TCU and/or with their impact on their communities or the nation over at least 25 years, with special emphasis on people who have stood outside the traditional circles of power, including but not limited to people of color, the LGBTQ people, and women.

The TCU Diverse History Project worked with Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences to commission a digital portrait of Allene Jones, who was one of the first three Black undergraduates admitted to TCU in 1962.  Allene Jones went on to receive her M.A. and returned to TCU in 1968 to become the university’s first Black professor.  TCU’s Board of Trustees voted 32-2 to end segregation university-wide on Jan. 29, 1964.  The portrait of Jones was created by TCU alum Melissa Perkins (2018) and is on display on the first floor of Bass Hall.

In collaboration with TCU’s committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we have also worked with the Chancellor’s office to secure portraits of diverse figures in TCU’s history in the university’s new administrative building. We are working to secure funding and support from each college to feature the portrait of a significant person of color, woman, or LGBTQ person from their own history. We believe that honoring trailblazers from TCU’s past can inspire students, faculty, and staff as we continue to work toward a more diverse and equitable campus.

Melissa Perkins (right), class of 2017, designed a digital portrait of Allene Jones, which now hangs in Bass Hall. She is pictured here with U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30).

Intersectional Celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month:

The newly annual Intersectional Celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month (WGST/CRES) has focused on two important Black women in TCU history, Allene Jones (one of the first three Black undergraduates admitted to TCU and the first Black professor at TCU) and US Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (the first nurse elected to US congress and first woman and first African American Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Each year, we have had an event to honor these alums, and we have sponsored a student graphic design competition to engage and preserve these histories (see winners below)

 

2018 Poster Design Contest Winning Entry by Jessica Dawson (Class of 2018)

2019 Poster Design Contest Winning Entry by Brooke Boland (Class of 2019)

U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), TCU class of 1967, speaking at the 2nd Annual Intersectional Celebration of Black History Month & Women’s History Month

TCU Feminist/Queer History Tour

As part of the WGST fall 2019 theme semester, “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 25 Years of Women & Gender Studies,” WGST is planning an interactive, community-organized event that will tell the history of gender and sexuality at TCU. On Friday, September 20th from 2-4 pm, departments, offices, and groups across campus will host a stop on this tour, sharing a piece of this important history. Groups will tour the campus, learning more about histories of gender and sexuality and making connections between struggles, advances, and challenges that women and LGBTQ people have experienced on campus. This event is an opportunity for everyone to learn and/or share an important piece of TCU history from a critical, intersectional, gender perspective. Some questions we will consider:

What does your office, student organization, or department have to do with gender or sexuality? How have women and/or LGBTQ students, faculty, or staff experienced campus life through your office/org? What are the accomplishments of your office/org that you are proud of in relation to gender justice? What were the uglier moments of TCU history that we still need to grapple with? How does the history you are sharing relate to issues on campus today? What has changed? What hasn’t? When and how have TCU community members organized on behalf of gender justice? When have they partnered with Fort Worth community members or organizations? Who were the important historical figures whose names we need to remember in relation to this history?