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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).

Introduction

The following is the history of TCU Triangle, the first LGBTQ+ student organization on campus. Click here to listen to an audio version of this timeline that was presented by Marilyn Downing during the TCU Feminist and Queer History Tour in Fall 2019.

 

 

1993-2000

First Meeting

A group of TCU LGBTQ+ students met at the Wesley Foundation house for the first time in March of 1993. This provided a safe space for students, off campus, where they could fully be themselves and provide support to one another. While they were not yet an official student organization, the support from the Wesley Foundation showed that a campus religious organization was willing to accept LGBTQ+ students in a time when many religious groups would not.

March 1993

Allies Panel

In 1993, the Division of Student Affairs created Allies, a group of faculty and staff members who supported the needs of LGBTQ+ students on campus. On October 18, 1993, the Allies sponsored a panel that allowed five LGBTQ+ students to share their experiences with 60 faculty members. The goal was to help faculty better understand how to support their LGBTQ+ students and create a space for open dialogue on campus.

From Oct. 20, 1993 issue of The Skiff

October 18, 1993

Becoming an Official Group

The TCU Triangle became the first official LGBTQ+ student organization on April 28, 1994. They were still cautious of meeting openly on campus, so they continued to meet off campus at the Wesley Foundation house. An ad was placed in the Skiff each week saying to contact Priscilla Tate, the faculty advisor, for the location of the meeting and more information on the group.

Ad from Sept. 29, 1994 issue of The Skiff

April 28, 1994

Formation of the Student Allies Group

A student branch of the Allies was formed in the fall of 1994. They met weekly and worked closely with the Triangle to find ways to effectively show their support. In Spring of 1995, the Student Allies became an official student organization with Andy Fort as their faculty advisor.

Student Allies in the 1999 Yearbook

Fall 1994

A Resolution for Support

Sophomore Thomas Graca brought forward a resolution to the Student House of Representatives asking the House to recognize the Triangle’s rights as a student organization after their publicity materials were vandalized and destroyed. Student representatives claimed the purpose of the resolution was unclear, so many representatives ended up voting based on if they personally supported the existence of the LGBTQ+ group. The resolution failed to pass with a vote of 28-17 with 19 members abstaining their vote.

From Sept. 29, 1994 issue of The Skiff

September 28, 1994

A New Resolution

A week later, the House passed a new resolution to reaffirm the rights of all student organizations on campus. This came as a response to the failed Triangle resolution as well as incidents of racial slurs and vandalism committed against other student organizations on campus. The resolution aimed to show that the House supported the rights of all student organizations at the university.

From Oct. 5, 1994 issue of The Skiff

October 4, 1994

Support from the Multicultural Committee

The Multicultural Committee, a group set up to diversify cultural awareness on campus, decided to support the Triangle in Fall of 1995. The Triangle hoped that the committee’s support would help increase acceptance and visibility on campus. On October 11, 1995, the Multicultural Committee sponsored its first event for the Triangle: TCU’s first National Coming Out Day celebration.

The Multicultural Committee in the 1999 Yearbook

Fall 1995

eQ Alliance

Because they worked so closely with one another, the Triangle and Student Allies decided to merge into a new group called the eQ Alliance. Marcy Paul served as their faculty advisor and they became an official student organization in the fall of 2000.

From Oct. 11, 2000 issue of The Skiff

Fall 2000

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?