A Look Back at Black History at Manhattan College

by Megan Dreher &  August Kissel

Assistant Editor & Editor

With Black History Month coming to a close, The Quadrangle examines the contributions of African-American Jaspers and those who fought for civil rights on-and off- campus.

Junius Kellogg

Our story begins with Junius Kellogg, a Manhattan College student athlete, and who started his career at Manhattan in 1949 as a sophomore. He was the first African American athlete to receive a scholarship, and also held the record at that time for being the tallest basketball player on the team.

In his senior year, Kellogg was approached by former co-captain Hank Pope. Pope asked Kellogg to purposely shave points and miss passes in an effort to win a bet. Kellogg, who did not want to risk his scholarship, reported the incident to his coach who in return reported it to the administration. The police were then involved.

Kellogg cooperated with authorities and played terribly in the January 16 game against Depaul, having only scored four points the entire game. Pope was arrested.

After this scandal with Manhattan, other schools were suddenly being caught in the act of point shaving. This became known as the Point Shaving Scandal of 1951. Thanks to Kellogg’s honesty one of the largest scandals in college basketball’s history was exposed.

An editorial in a 1997-98 Men’s Basketball Magazine stated: “Following Kellogg’s act of courage, a scholarship was established to assist worthy African-American candidates who wished to attend Manhattan College. Manhattan thus became one of the first college in the east to offer scholarships exclusively for African-American students.”

The Quadrangle’s Response to the Murder of Emmett Till

Emmett Till was a young African American boy who was brutally murdered on Aug. 28, 1955 for reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till’s death and open casket funeral drew attention to a form of injustice that they nation was at the time enduring. On Oct. 19 1955 the Quadrangle published an anonymous letter as a reaction piece to his death.

“But he was just a boy and he is dead now, and he was my brother and your brother too. And you didn’t kill him- but you let him die. You let him die, and now you’re forgetting him, just as you’ll forget others like him. You let him die when you didn’t fight to save him, not FROM death but IN life; when you didn’t save him from his slums and when you didn’t give him an education like your own. When you made him take the poorest seats in your buses and wouldn’t let him live in your neighborhood, when you made him a second-class citizen man. Now you’re willing to give him justice, but you were never willing to give him love,” The Quadrangle wrote.

This chilling reaction published in The Quadrangle speaks volumes about how the college reacted as well as how they sympathized with those who were facing unjust treatment around the country.

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An excerpt from an essay submitted anonymously to The Quadrangle after the 1955 murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi.


MC Students Create an African
American Publication “Brown Soap”

In 1969, a group of Manhattan College students came together to publish an African American publication.

“We propose. Let us speak to each other, define and examine our purpose, and where we find needs and possibilities respond with our convictions and creative energies. We are responsible for our education, we are responsible for the life that surrounds us, and especially responsible for this moment in history. It is this responsibility that compels us to articulate our feelings and thoughts and to act in whatever ways are available or must be made available. We celebrate the printed word trusting that it too will be made into Flesh. For the sake of giving birth and reality to an idea, a hope, and a plan (triplets) we must cooperate and assists each other. We can agree and disagree, we must act. Creation, life sign, Brown Soap.”

Brown Soap came together for only one publication. Though their presence on campus was defining in the fact that students felt that they had something they needed to share and that they were given a forum to do so on.

MC Faculty Hosts “Professional Career Opportunities Day for Blacks and Hispanics”

In 1982, the faculty of Manhattan College came together to host a “Professional Career Opportunities Day for Blacks and Hispanics.” This day was a panel discussion for local high school juniors and seniors and professionals, so that the students can become more comfortable with the idea of going to college.

After the discussion the students went to lunch in the dining hall and then went to a basketball game so that they could have a true college experience.

“Believed to be the first of it’s kind offered by higher education. These graduates’ familiarity with Manhattan College’s programs and campus life will give the students a distinctive advantage in planning their academic and career goals, ” said Brother William Batt, the director of admissions at the time.