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Barbara Jean Lee
Kenyon Class of 1973
Major: English
Hometown: Gary, Indiana
Pre-Kenyon Life
Barbara Jean Lee was born in Gary, Indiana on November 1, 1930. The oldest of three children, Ballard grew up in a close-nit black community in central Philadelphia.

His father, Robert sr., who had migrated from rural South Carolina, was a graduate of Virginia Union and worked as police officer.His mother, Olive, a descendent from a well-educated and long established Philadelphia family, was a nurse. His parents divorced when he was young, and Ballard lived with his mother, but remained in close contact with his father.

Ballard attended Central High School in Philadelphia where he was very active on the Football and Cross-Country teams. Central High school's principal, a proponent of liberal arts education, knew Kenyon's president Gordon Keith Chalmers. Chalmers sent an admissions recruiter to Central High in search of a minority students who would be a good match for Kenyon. They found Allen Ballard.

In 1948, Kenyon President Gordon Keith Chalmers announced during an executive Committee meeting that:

"This year two really outstanding young Negro men have applied for admission in 1948, one of them from Central High School in Philadelphia, and the other from Steubenville. Both are athletes and have unusually promising social and personal records as well as high academic records; both have applied for and received scholarships."

After decades without black student enrollment, Kenyon College would matriculate these two black students, Allen B. Ballard, Jr. and Stanley L. Jackson, in 1949.

Early Kenyon Life
In his book, The Education of Black Folk, Ballard writes empassionately on his experience at Kenyon. According to Ballard he, along with Stanley Jackson: "...had the misfortune to become the first of our race to enter Kenyon College. In retrospect, it is clear that -with some exceptions- our existence on that campus was defined not by us but by the constant necessity to be everything that negated the white man's concept of niggers. We were, in fact, forced to suppress our natural inner selves so as to conform to the mores of a campus dominated by upper-middle-class Americans. For eighteen hours a day, our manners, speech, style of walking were on trial before white America. Classes, particularly in the freshman and sophomore years,
In his book, The Education of Black Folk, Ballard writes empassionately on his experience at Kenyon. According to Ballard he, along with Stanley Jackson: "...had the misfortune to become the first of our race to enter Kenyon College. In retrospect, it is clear that -with some exceptions- our existence on that campus was defined not by us but by the constant necessity to be everything that negated the white man's concept of niggers. We were, in fact, forced to suppress our natural inner selves so as to conform to the mores of a campus dominated by upper-middle-class Americans. For eighteen hours a day, our manners, speech, style of walking were on trial before white America. Classes, particularly in the freshman and sophomore years,
Organizations/Fraternities and Sports

Johnnie Johnson K73 and Barbara Lee K73 at a costume party (Mute and Scarface).

Social life revolved around the fraternities, from which we Blacks were automatically excluded. The cumulative toll, both psychically and academically, was heavy. Of eight students in the four years, five left for the military or large campuses close to urban centers. The only surcease from this eight semester social ordeal for the three of us who remained came when the Black community in a nearby town provided us with Black warmth, food, and emotional support. We looked forward eagerly to weekends away from that alien campus.

Johnson shown above during his senior year with

Though he felt socially isolated, both Ballard and Jackson would become very active and involve in campus life at Kenyon. While neither were allowed to join fraternities because of their race, they still participated in several other campus organizations and sports. Ballard was a member of the varsity football and lacrosse teams, as well as the president of the student council.

Ballard found refuge and social engagement in the black community of Mt. Vernon. In addition, he spent many weekends at Oberlin, where one of his

Article on Barbara Lee
Race Related Incidents
In terms of race relations, it is important to place things within a historical context. Segregation was still the law of the land in this time prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Like others black students, Ballard recalls very few overtly racist incidents during his time at Kenyon, although there were a few isolated instances. He claims to have experienced more racism while traveling to sporting events than on campus. For example, Ballard and other black students were not allowed to stay in the same hotels as their white teammates.

The biggest disappointment relating to race was not being allowed to pledge a fraternity. This was particularly painful as a football player, while he watched his white teammates pledge. In the 1950s, fraternities were the cornerstone of Kenyon social life. In the mid fifties, nearly 80% of Kenyon students belonged to a fraternity.

In retrospect, Ballard feels wonderful about the education that he received at Kenyon, but still feels somewhat bitter about the social isolation that he felt. Still, over the years he has grown to treasure the education and the friends that he did make.
Academics/Graduation
Ballard won a Fulbright Fellowship and went on to study at the University of Bordeaux in France. While in France, he served in the army, stationed in Paris. Returning to the United States, he then went to Harvard University where he studied in its Soviet Union Regional Studies program and earned his doctorate in government in 1961. From Harvard, Ballard went on to teach at Boston University, Cornell and Dartmouth before settling at CCNY, City College of New York.At CCNY, Ballard became assistant dean of Liberal Arts where he developed the first open admissions program for minority students in the country.
Ballard has returned to Kenyon for class reunions over the years and was particularly pleased to see black students admitted to the fraternities. In 2000, Ballard completed his novel Where I'm Bound, a story of black soldiers in the Civil War.

In his book, The Education of Black Folk, Ballard writes empassionately on his experience at Kenyon. According to Ballard he, along with Stanley Jackson: "...had the misfortune to become the first of our race to enter Kenyon College. In retrospect, it is clear that -with some exceptions- our existence on that campus was defined not by us but by the constant necessity to be everything that negated the white man's concept of niggers. We were, in fact, forced to suppress our natural inner selves so as to conform to the mores of a campus dominated by upper-middle-class Americans. For eighteen hours a day, our manners, speech, style of walking were on trial before white America. Classes, particularly in the freshman and sophomore years,

left to right: Ulysses Hammond, Johnnie Johnson, Barbara Lee Johnson, Ruben Pope, and Eugene Peterson

Black Students @ Kenyon in the 1970s

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Kenyon in the 1970s