Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2000 Marissa D. Colston. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Black Studies Program

First Advisor

Sarah Willie-LeBreton


It is crucial for Swarthmore College and the community at large to know and understand the history they are coming from. Swarthmore College, established in 1864, has had a myriad of events happen throughout its 136 years of existence, making it a complicated history. This project was taken on to provide a resource pertaining to the African American experience at Swarthmore College. Understanding history helps us to understand the way in which things operate today. Adrienne Rich in "Resisting Amnesia," states that history is not something we can take or leave. She also points out that often nostalgia is represented as history, but "it is a white man’s nostalgia." Similar to many other liberal arts institutions, Swarthmore's relationship with African-Americans has varied and changed throughout its history. As of the Spring of 2000, no comprehensive history has been written about the experiences of African-Americans at Swarthmore College. The author, therefore, feels that knowing this history is important to understanding where the institution is coming from on different matters and to getting an idea of what to expect for in the future, and discusses this thoroughly in this thesis.


Swarthmore College History, African Americans at Swarthmore, Quaker