Chapter 2: Race Relations on the Bates Campus
Shortly after Bates College was founded, students at nearby colleges allegedly declared that it was a so-called “school for niggers and women.”This insulting and contemptuous claim was of course meant to deride the young College, yet Bates’ legendary egalitarianism later served as a source of pride and strength for the College community. Bates’ faculty held relatively progressive stances in regard to immediatist abolitionism and, to a lesser extent, racial equality. Yet the degree to which the Bates community actually accepted African Americans (and all non-whites) as equals at the College needs to be further examined.
This chapter will analyze how Bates’ white students, white faculty, and black students viewed race relations on the campus. To understand the attitudes of these individuals, this chapter will utilize evidence from faculty and student diaries, the Bates Student and Seminary Advocate, the Bates Bulletin and other official sources that hint at early race relations at Bates College. Using these sources, this chapter will argue that Bates was generally supportive, albeit often paternalistic, in its attitude toward its minority students from 1855 to 1877. To present this argument, I will first give a brief description of the atmosphere regarding higher education for African American students in the antebellum era, then I will describe the atmosphere into which the first African Americans at Bates were entering, and finally, I will look in depth at the individual experiences of the first three African American graduates of Bates College.
At the time that Bates was founded, only a handful of colleges in the United States were accepting African American students, and at these schools African Americans were often not seen as equals. Middlebury was the first college to graduate an African American in 1823. Bowdoin College had only one African American graduate before 1864 and a handful of black students in its medical school. “[F]ew other Northern colleges enrolled non-white students until this century [twentieth].” Even at the schools that accepted African Americans, there was often an animosity felt toward them by white students and faculty. For example, Bowdoin Professor William Sweetser wrote about some of the first black students at Bowdoin’s medical school before the Civil War, claiming that:
We have Ray another coloured student here. They behave very modestly, & no exception has, I believe as yet been taken to them, even by our Southern pupils – at least no open objections have been made, though I think many of the class, would a little rather, have them away. Indeed I much doubt the policy, under the present state of prejudices in regard to colour in this country, however wrong such prejudices may be, of receiving blacks at our medical schools—I feel convinced from cautious observations that, in the end, they would lose more than they would gain by it.
This passage reveals a limited amount of hostility from both faculty and students at Bowdoin as there seems to have been a common feeling that many students “would a little rather, have them [the African American students] away.” This is not surprising because according to a Bates Bulletin from 1910, “in most if not all, of our New England colleges, [other than Bates] sympathy with Southern slaveholders was prevalent and even dominant. At least two of these colleges were presided over during the Civil War by men whose hearts and, so far as prudent, whose voices, were with the South.” Although these attitudes of Southern sympathy and of uneasiness around African Americans were undoubtedly bigoted and clearly unacceptable from a twenty first century perspective, schools such as Bowdoin were among the more progressive colleges of the nineteenth century in accepting black students for admission. Prestigious American colleges, such as Princeton, the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Virginia did not enroll their first African American students until 1947, 1949, and 1960, respectively. These late integration dates reveal how comparatively liberal the admission of African Americans actually was in the nineteenth century.
Bates was among the first handful of colleges to admit African Americans, and this decision was clearly affected by the religious affiliation of the College. George Chase, the second president of Bates, wrote that “at the outset Bates was modeled after Hillsdale.” Hillsdale College in Michigan was founded in 1844, and like Bates, was founded by Free Will Baptists as the first institution of higher learning controlled by the denomination. Scores of Free Baptist clergymen associated with Hillsdale and Bates, including Bates founder, Oren B. Cheney, were vocal abolitionists and ardent opponents of racism. Social historian Herbert Aptheker claimed that “[t]he impact of the prophetic quality in religion upon the history of anti-racism has been profound; this is, perhaps of greater consequence than any other influence.” Furthermore, “[t]he concept of human oneness and equality is a tenet of both Catholic and Protestant teaching…today it is called of theology of liberation.” Cleary, the anti-slavery, anti-racist values of many evangelical Christians such as the founders of Bates and Hillsdale were deeply rooted in their moral theologies. Practically all colleges in nineteenth century America had religious ties because it was believed, as historian James McPherson puts it, that “[j]ust as religion without education was an empty shell, education without religion would impart only information without conscience.” Because Bates was affiliated with the Free Will Baptist denomination, progressive, abolitionist, Baptist morals seem to have prevailed on the early Bates campus.
Cheney’s connection to the evangelical abolitionist movement certainly influenced his egalitarian vision for Bates College, and this vision was all the more surprising due of the demographic makeup of the Lewiston area. With the assistance of Ebenezer Knowlton, President of the Trustees, Cheney made sure that no restrictions on admitting students were based on race in the charter of both the Maine State Seminary (1855) and later Bates College (1864). Although Cheney worked to ensure that Bates was open to students of all races, relatively few non-white students attended the Seminary and the College in its early years. Perhaps this is not surprising, as the 1860 U.S. Census reported that 99.8% of Maine’s population was white, and only 1,327 of 628,279 people were identified as “colored.” Androscoggin County was even less diverse than the state as a whole with only 11 “colored” residents out of a population of 29,726 and none of these eleven African Americans lived in Lewiston or Auburn in 1860. Considering how racially homogenous (white) the area surrounding Bates was, it was notable that by 1877 Professor Stanley could write that Bates had “given most cordial welcome to young men of color, from the first. It has had in its various departments nine colored students, six of whom had been slaves.” For an area with a population that was completely white in 1860, these nine African American students would have provided the first instances of racial diversity in the Lewiston or Auburn area. How these students came to enroll at Bates College is unclear, but because Bates was affiliated with the national Free Will Baptist denomination, it seems likely that they may have heard of Bates College’s liberal admission policies through Free Baptist churches and publications such as the Morning Star. President Cheney traveled extensively across the country, visiting various churches for fundraising and recruiting students, so these earliest minority students were likely drawn to the College through his recruitment.
It is difficult to determine the identities of these earliest minority students at the Seminary, because no early Seminary yearbooks or relevant institutional records seem to exist. The first students who would qualify as a racial minority at Bates were likely Cubans, and it is unclear as to whether they were seen as “black.” The Seminary Catalogues from 1857 to 1869 record three students as residing in Cuba. Although these students may very well have been regarded as white at the time, they fit the current (2005) United States govern
A self-designated classification for people whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, the Caribbean, or those identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, etc. Origin can be viewed as ancestry, nationality, or country of birth of the person or person’s parents or ancestors prior to their arrival in the United States.
The first mention of a Hispanic student at Bates was in the 1858 Catalogue, where Manuel de J. Gutierrez listed his residence as Villa Clara, Cuba. Also, in the 1866 and 1867 Catalogues of the Academical Course, Francis A. Hechavarria listed his residence as Santiago de Cuba, and Francis Olano listed his as Bolondron, Cuba. These three references seem to be the lone archival sources about these early Hispanic students at Bates. The 1880 U.S. Census recorded a Francisco Hechavarria living in Pennsylvania and married to a woman from Maine, hinting that this was indeed the same person who attended the Seminary. This man listed his race as white (the Hispanic category did not exist on the 1880 Census.) Because these Hispanic students may have been regarded as white (although little evidence exists beyond this census data), they do not warrant further attention in this chapter as students of color.
The first verifiable African American student to enroll at the Maine State Seminary was John W. Dunjee (Dungy), who attended the Seminary from 1866 to 1868. Dunjee’s “race” can be verified by the 1880 U.S. Census, which listed him as a “mulatto.” Dunjee had been born a slave in Virginia, and “escaped via the URR in 1860, [and] made it to Canada. [He] [r]eturned to the US in about 1865 or 66.” Why Dungee enrolled at the Maine State Seminary in 1866 is unclear. As Dungee was a Baptist, it is possible that his religious affiliation may have brought him to study at Bates. Lewiston’s proximity to Canada may have also impacted his decision. After attending the Maine State Seminary (Bates), Dunjee went on to study at Oberlin College and then traveled to “many locations in the South and later in Oklahoma… to establish Baptist churches for blacks in rural areas.” Other members of Dunjee’s class in 1866 were likely black as well, such as Dunjee’s roommates in Parker Hall, Hamilton E. Keyes from Front Royal, Virginia, and Alexander Sanders from Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Fortress Monroe was a Union military base in Virginia to which hundreds of slaves fled after General Benjamin Butler issued his famous contraband order. This order allowed the government to take slaves from their owners because they were considered rebel property. That Bates College was attracting former slaves as students in its earliest days reveals the relative openness of the school during this period. Bates must have been communicating that its doors were open to black students very early in its history in order to attract several students of color within its first decade of existence.
It is difficult to know much about the social experience Dunjee and his roommates had at Bates, but several pieces of evidence hint at prevalent racial attitudes on campus. An article by future Bates President George Colby Chase, who attended the Seminary and College from 1862 to 1868, described an incident involving one of the earliest African American students at Bates. Chase wrote that:
A colored student from Virginia encountering a ‘a gentleman from old Kentucky’ was violently pushed from the sidewalk into the ditch. In scarcely more time than is required for the story he was arrested by a policeman, ha[u]led into the municipal court and in the presence of fifty Bates boys was sharply fined for his cowardly and insolent assault upon one of their number.
This passage by Chase hinted at the attitudes of the white members of the early Bates community toward the first African American students and also described the backlash from those outside of the Bates community. It is, however, unclear who the African American student was in this article, and when the incident occurred. The College, Seminary, and Nichols Latin (Department of the College) catalogues recorded students from Virginia or West Virginia (presumably African American) in all of the catalogues from 1866 to 1879, so the event could have occurred at any point during these years. If Chase’s story is indicative of the school’s general attitude, it seems as though many white Bates students attempted to support the black students as they faced various prejudices during their time in Lewiston. Fifty Bates students would have been approximately a quarter of the student body in 1867-1868 (there were 46 students in the College and 172 in the affiliated Seminary and Latin School). While the incident reveals sympathy towards African American students, it also describes racial attitudes outside of the direct Bates community. Other such attacks on African Americans in Lewiston were recorded in the 1860s.
Even though few African Americans lived in the Lewiston area in the mid-nineteenth century, the Lewiston Evening Journal mentioned several similar assaults. For example in 1867 the Journal reported that:
Charles Smith was complained of for assaulting one Jackson Lewis, a gentleman of color—Smith probably has prejudices against colored individuals which the war has not fully eradicated, and it being a holiday, he took occasion to give vent to his peculiar political biases by commencing an assault upon the unoffending colored boy, who proving the better man of the two, knocked Smith down and then went to his place of business. The Judge fined Smith two dollars and costs.
Interestingly, this article was published by Nelson Dingley, a future Congressman, honorary degree recipient from Bates College, and an early trustee of the College. Dingley’s paper sympathized with the African American man in this article and condemned “prejudices against colored individuals” even though it referred to Jackson Lewis as the “colored boy.” It appears as though Lewis was an adult as he “went to his place of business.” This kind of benevolent, paternalistic attitude was not unusual among northerners who sympathized with African Americans. As McPherson puts it, many northern teachers “believed slavery to have been an infantilizing process,” and therefore referring to black men as “boys” may have been common among such reformers. Other than this paternalistic phrase, the sympathetic views of Dingley’s newspaper generally reaffirmed the supportive attitudes of the Bates community that Chase previously mentioned.
While the evidence about actual race relations on campus is thin, we can get an idea of the attitudes of Bates students’ attitudes about race and the national debate over slavery by examining an article from the Seminary Advocate written during the Civil War. A short article published in the April 1863 Seminary Advocate expressed the abolitionist sentiments of an individual student. The unnamed student asserted in the article that “we [the students at the newspaper] are in favor of the proclamation.” By supporting the Emancipation Proclamation and “freemen,” the author was clearly taking a stance in the battle over slavery. For this student, preserving the Union seems to have been a secondary reason for continuing to fight the Civil War. For this individual and likely other students who went on to fight slavery, ending slavery was primary reason for prosecuting the War. Although this does not necessarily indicate sympathy for African Americans on campus it does tell us that some students (and an official school publication) supported the Emancipation Proclamation at a time when most Americans in the northern states were opposed to it. According to historian Allen Guelzo, “outside Radical and abolitionist circles, enthusiasm was in ominously shorter supply [for the Proclamation].” If the Seminary Advocate decided to publish an article supporting the Proclamation, those students involved with it may very well have been members of “Radical and abolitionist circles.”
The actions of individual Bates students during the War may also be indicative of their racial attitudes. Emeline Cheney reported that as of November 1864, the Seminary and College “sent one hundred and seventy-five of its young men to the war.” Bates’ students seem to have overwhelmingly supported the Union during this era. The April 1863 edition of the Seminary Advocate claims that only two former Seminary students (Lyman E. Brooks and A.W. Murphy) from Columbus, Georgia, were “said to be in the rebel army.” Whether this majority fought primarily to preserve the Union or to abolish slavery is unclear, although it is probable that many students were fighting for both causes. Most students consciously enlisted on the Union side, and according to a later Bates Bulletin:
The number of men entering the first class in 1863, was diminished one-half by the call To Arms! By flag and country. Those student volunteers went marching from Hathorn Hall to the railway station to the music of drum and fife…some of them returned…and more of them fell where they fought, cheerful martyrs to Union and Freedom.
This passage reveals that a substantial portion of Bates students studying during the War actually enlisted, and if this article is accurate, they did so enthusiastically for both “Union and Freedom.”
One Bates student who responded to this “call to Arms” was Major Holman S. Melcher, and his views may hint at a typical student’s motivations for fighting. Melcher attended Bates (Maine State Seminary) from 1858 to 1862, but eventually dropped out and enlisted with the 20th Regiment of Maine. He left a diary and letters hinting at his motivations for fighting. Most of Melcher’s writings dealt with everyday details of army life and his role in various battles (which included leading and possibly initiating the legendary charge down Little Round Top). Melcher did not directly state his specific reason for enlisting, but it can be inferred that fighting to end slavery was not his top priority when he initially enlisted in 1862, which was relatively early in the War. Melcher frequently described how he was fighting to “restore the Union” and was “inspired with Patriotism.” Melcher would thus have been a lot like other Maine soldiers who fought for similar reasons. Charles Calhoun has written that “few of the young men who went to war from Maine in 1861 and 1862 had any notion of freeing the slaves, but they were determined to crush the rebellion.” Melcher only refers to slavery once in his three years of writing. On February 3, 1865 Melcher expressed joy that “the 13th Constitutional Amendment passed Congress on the last day of January—119 to 56—so we are at last a Free Nation with the approval of the States. Thank God!” Melcher emphatically approved of the abolition of slavery with the 13th Amendment although he hardly seems to have dwelt upon the issue very extensively in his everyday musings during the War. Melcher’s supportive but not overly zealous attitude towards abolition may be indicative of Bates students’ feelings during the Civil War era. Determining the attitudes of other presumably white Bates students on campus during the Civil War era is much more difficult because few writings by early students survived.
Fortunately some faculty diaries, letters and records have survived which reveal more about the first African Americans at Bates. The abolitionist ideals of Bates’ founder, Oren Cheney (as discussed in the previous chapter), were largely acted out as he recruited the earliest African American students for the school, including Henry Chandler the first African American graduate of Bates College. In a diary entry from March 1, 1864, Cheney mentioned stopping in Bath, Maine, to see an African American acquaintance, and he recorded that “Bro. Chandler[‘s] (colored) son and daughter will ‘go through’ the college.” Almost exactly ten years after Cheney wrote this, Henry Wilkins Chandler of Bath, Maine, graduated from Bates College in 1874 as its first African American graduate. It seems almost certain that Henry Chandler was the son referred to in the 1864 diary. This is significant because it means that President Cheney was already recruiting African American students during Bates’ first full year with collegiate powers, 1864. It is likely, though, that Chandler was not the first African American student Cheney recruited. Professor Stanley reported in 1877 that Bates “has had in its various departments nine colored students.” Most of these other African American students (John Dunjee, Hamilton Keyes, Alexander Sanders, Archibald Johnson, Alexander Stuard and others) seem to have enrolled in the Seminary Department or Nichols Latin School, other departments of the College. Chandler was, though, the only black graduate of the College proper listed as of 1877. Regardless of the specific numbers, it is certain that Cheney was actively seeking African American students, such as Chandler, in the earliest days of the school. Because of Cheney’s recruitment, it seems reasonable to assume that at least some of the early faculty welcomed Africans to Bates, and this is perhaps indicative of the racial atmosphere at the institution.
Other faculty members at Bates such as George Colby Chase also briefly mentioned the first African American graduate of the College. On August 27, 1870 Chase wrote in his diary:
I have heard my class recite twice. It will number about twenty. A colored boy named Chandler bids fair to be among the first. I reluctantly consented to hear the Freshman class in Greek instead of Latin, which I expected to teach.
Chase refers rather nonchalantly to Henry Chandler in this passage, and his sole reference to Chandler provides relatively little information. It is unclear exactly what Chandler “bids fair” (appears likely) to be the first at. Perhaps Chase believed that Chandler may be among the most promising students in the class. Interestingly, Chase referred to Chandler as a “boy” although he was eighteen years old in 1870 and only eight years younger than Chase. It is possible that Chase used this term in a derogatory way, although he often referred to the other students (presumably white) as boys as well. As historian James McPherson points out: “‘[t]he colored people are yet children, and need to be taught everything,’ was a typical comment” after the Civil War among many white educators of African Americans. Therefore Chase’s comment may not have been unexpected during that era. Besides this reference, Chase did not mention Chandler in his diary. He certainly did not seem to be nearly as vocal, radical and committed as President Cheney was in his dealings with African Americans.
In order to understand race relations at Bates, the experiences of the first three African Ameican graduates of the College, Henry Chandler ’74, Thomas Bollin ’79 and Daniel Grice 83′ must be examined in more detail. Fortunately the Bates Student mentioned all three of these individuals in articles from the 1870s and 1880s. Henry Wilkins Chandler, Class of 1874, seems to have experienced relative acceptance during his time at Bates. As the first black graduate of the College, it would be expected that Chandler might have experienced some animosity from his peers and been excluded from extracurricular activities. The surviving evidence does not suggest this, however, and Chander seems to have been fairly active and accepted in campus life. As a student, Chandler was one of the founding editors of the Bates Student in 1873. He also gave a Declamation during the 1873 Commencement, and in his senior year was elected as an officer of the Executive Committee of the Eurosophian Society.
The climate at Bates that supported Chandler may also have supported other African American concerns. For example during April of 1874 when Chandler was a senior, the senior class invited Frederick Douglass to speak to Bates students and community members at the Lewiston City Hall about John Brown. The event was well publicized and the Lewiston Evening Journal wrote about the speech, claiming that “Mr. Douglass is the best representative of the colored race, and probably its best known member.” Inviting Frederick Douglass to speak is perhaps indicative of Bates’ attempt at racial egalitarianism during Chandler’s time at Bates. Considering that there were only eighteen members of this class, it is likely that Chandler knew about Douglass’s speech and may have had a part in inviting him. It is also possible that President Cheney may have also had a role in inviting Douglass, as he had met him several times previously. Clearly, Chandler did not seem to have been directly ostracized by his peers from the social and academic life at Bates College. After graduating, Chandler went on to a successful law and political career in Florida, serving as a state senator and Republican Party delegate in later years. It seems as though Chandler’s education from Bates served him well in his professional life. Chandler’s acceptance into college activities resembles that of other African Americans at Bates.
The next African American graduate, Thomas James Bollin ’79, seems to have had a somewhat comparable experience to Chandler at Bates, although their backgrounds were quite different. According to the Bates Student from 1879:
Bollin…was born in Lexington, Va., April 23, 1846. He was a slave until his eighteenth year, or until the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. On his arrival in the North, at Lewiston in 1866, he began his education. He fitted for college at Nichols Latin School [which was connected to Bates College] and entered Bates College in the fall of ’75.
It seems likely that Bollin began his education when he was twenty years old because his childhood was spent in slavery. Despite this handicap, Bollin appears to have succeeded at Bates. In 1875 he was elected Toast Master of the 1879 class, and in 1877 the Polymnian Literary Society admitted him as a member. In his senior year Bollin was elected class president. In 1879 Bollin also wrote two articles in the Bates Student expressing his view on race. In an article titled “Social Equality,” Bollin eloquently claimed that social equality “is not equal rights before the law… is not the equality of riches… nor is it an equality in the simple right of franchise… social equality is the brotherhood of man in every condition.” In this essay Bollin asserted that one can be technically equal but not truly seen as such by their peers. Perhaps Bollin was addressing his own experience with racial equality or inequality while a student. Although he may have been accepted by his peers as seen by his involvement in various activities, Bollin may have still felt a lacking of absolute brotherhood with his classmates. The fact that the Bates Student published his views, however, demonstrates at least some sympathy for his perspective.
The next African American graduate of Bates College, Daniel Grice ’83, seems to have experienced similar belonging and distance with his classmates. Although Grice entered Bates slightly after the Reconstruction era, his story is particularly poignant and relevant, and perhaps indicative of earlier African Americans’ experiences at Bates. Grice entered Bates in 1879 as a member of the class of 1883. At Bates, Grice lived with his family in Lewiston, in contrast to many of the area students listed in the catalogues who lived at Parker Hall or rented rooms nearby. It is possible that this was a means of cutting costs. In his sophomore year Grice was elected orator of his class. That same year, 1881, the editors of the Bates Student published an article about Grice stating:
We wish to call the attention of all the students to the fact that D.N. Grice of ’83 is prepared to accommodate all who have baggage to be carried to and from the depot. For obvious reasons he has not the same opportunities to make money that his fellow students have. He cannot easily obtain a school. How many of us would escape bankruptcy if we hadn’t any more resources than he has? …. When we come back in the spring let us drop him a card telling him when to meet us. We can, by this means, greatly assist one of our own number, a more worthy person, to continue his college course. This is written entirely without the knowledge of Mr. Grice, and simply because it seems to us a duty to assist one so deserving, and so appreciative of all favors. He can be seen at the college any day.
This article suggests that Grice was discriminated against in finding employment in the Lewiston area for “obvious reasons,” namely his race. Because this is supposed to be obvious to the audience, it can be assumed that Bates’ students understood that racist hiring practices were the norm in the region. Daniel Grice was certainly carrying baggage out of necessity, and it is easy to imagine that Grice would have been appreciative of this article, but possibly embarrassed as well. Although Grice’s classmates were apparently well meaning with their article, Grice was singled out by the author for sympathy. The article rings again of both white paternalism (perhaps too harsh of a term) and a desire to do “good” as measured by the author’s own likely Christian morality. James McPherson points out that northern Christian groups after the Civil War often claimed that “the colored man is our brother… We must take care of him, educate him, help him, and lift him up into a higher life, that he may be a brother on whom we shall look with satisfaction and pride.” This article in the Bates Student surely reflected some of these types of Christian paternalistic attitudes. While the editors seem to have meant well, their tone reveals a possible naiveté about their own preconceptions and paternalism, as it does not appear that the editors even asked Mr. Grice if he wanted their assistance (although they apparently thought that this non-communication was a good idea). By carrying his classmates’ baggage at Bates, Grice was acting more like a servant than an equal, even though such actions provided him with support. If Grice’s experience is typical, other minority students at Bates may have also faced both support and well-meaning paternalism from their white classmates. Although Grice seems to have faced challenges during his time at Bates, he went on to a career as an instructor and lawyer in Richmond, Virginia.
Although absolute equality may not have existed between African Americans and white students on campus, Bates College was certainly relatively tolerant in its attitude toward African Americans in the early years of the school especially in comparison with other schools. Oren Cheney actively worked to create a college that was open to all students regardless of race, and he was somewhat successful in this work. The faculty and the student body seem to have been distinctly supportive of this ideal. Regardless of their paternalistic undertones, they spoke up for social equality and assisted minority students in times of adversity. This early progressive stance led many outside critics of the College to denigrate the school in its formative years, but at the same time led many progressive members of the Bates community to take pride in the College’s tolerance. Professor Stanley wrote in 1877 that “[e]very one of the nine [first African American students], I think would testify that he had never received on account of his color, the slightest discourtesy from any one connected with the College.”Although Stanley’s claim that none of the black students had received “the slightest discourtesy” may be exaggerated, little evidence exists to contradict this claim.
Certainly Bates’ attitude toward race was very progressive by nineteenth century standards. Already by 1881 the radical abolitionist and civil rights advocate, Wendell Phillips, acknowledged in a letter to President Cheney:
I am familiar with the history of Bates College and acquainted with its officers. In the old times of bitter pro-slavery feeling the College gave earnest and effective support to the anti-slavery movement and was among the very first to open its doors to the colored man.
If radical speakers such at Wendell Phillips considered Bates to have progressive admissions policies in regard to race in the nineteenth century, it is probable that Bates was among the most forward looking colleges in the country at the time. Although instances of white paternalism are evident at Bates as they were at most other institutions, the fact still remains that Bates opened its doors to people of African descent while other more prestigious colleges and universities refused admission to blacks until the 1950s and 1960s.