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Mail to the Editor: August 2017

Illinois State Police guard the flagpole on Illinois State’s Quad on May 19, 1970

Illinois State Police guard the flagpole on Illinois State’s Quad on May 19, 1970. The state police were ordered to the scene in response to a confrontation between students and construction workers over the former’s lowering of the flag in honor of Malcolm X. (Photo courtesy of the Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield Archives)

To the Editor,

What a great article! (“Days of May,” May 2017).

As a person who was there during the time that John Freed referred to as “a rather sleepy teachers’ college,” I can assure everyone that it was far from sleepy!

We had the number one college circus in the U.S. and a nationally recognized sports department. We had tremendous cultural opportunities. The college provided regular weekend social opportunities. We had an open door to the head of our department, and a highly skilled and friendly faculty.

My days at ISU had a profound influence on my life. It was very carefully chosen by this Oklahoma girl. My parents were determined that I would get the best education—even though we were so poor we didn’t have running water or electricity.

When I arrived as a junior, I sat on my bed and cried. I didn’t know a soul, and had never been away from Oklahoma. That was the last time I cried! I had joy of friends, learning, and participation in such a “crackling” environment!

We had a few black students on campus. I remember four who were friends of mine. I never did see any signs of discrimination. There was some when we went downtown, but none on the campus that I ever saw.

JimAnn Smith Oliver, ’54

To the Editor,

I rarely ever read my Illinois State magazine and I’ve never written in, but I just had to tell you what an incredible article Kate Arthur wrote about Vickie Lannie (“When every moment matters,” Feb. 2017). I kept thinking while I read it that she is a true hero, unlike today’s sports “heroes.”

Jerry Davison ’81

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