Insensitive and Discriminatory Content in Wake Forest’s Howler Yearbooks and Other Records
This document contains sensitive language related to discrimination of underrepresented groups, including people of color, women, and lgbtq/queer populations, which appears in the historical record.
The Howler yearbooks document a time and place, serving as a portrayal of the social mindsets and occurrences of their time. They do not mirror the current views of Wake Forest University or the Z. Smith Reynolds Library, which seek to encourage a vibrant and diverse learning community.
This document is organized by Howler year, with pages for reference. While we attempted to capture everything, this list may not be exhaustive.
Howlers that have been digitized can be found in ZSR’s Digital Collections. Similar articles and images also appear in the Old Gold and Black, the University Photograph Collection, and other collections, and can also be found in ZSR’s Digital Collections.
The Howler 1903
- Page 42: Discussion of using “indelible ink instead of shoe polish” to “black” people and a “blacking committee.”
The Howler 1904
- Page 7: Dedicated to Thomas Dixon Jr., the author of The Leopard’s Spots: A Romance of the White Man’s Burden: 1865–1900 (1902) and The Clansman (1905), that glorified the Ku Klux Klan, romanticized Southern white supremacy, and opposed the equal rights for Black individuals during the Reconstruction era.
- Page 59: This page discusses a hazing method of applying dark shoe polish on new students’ faces.
The Howler 1905
- Page 29: “He held a blacking crowd at bay with an empty pistol.”
- Page 51: “Blacking club” and other references to black.
- Page 57: Reference to the “race problem” in the middle paragraph.
- Page 59: Some quotes that are sexist, but not explicit.
- Page 102: Poem about a Black boy, entitled “Li’l Cripple Bobby”
- Page 157: A story entitled “Call of the Old Plantation” uses racial slurs.
The Howler 1906
- Page 50: References to “black influences”
- Page 64: A racial slur is used in the bottom paragraph.
- Page 91: Picture of white man, possibly a farmer, holding a stick and chasing a Black man who is holding a chicken. This was the illustration for the track team.
The Howler 1908
- Page 122: Blackface in the Rounders Club photograph.
- Page 139: Illustration of young Black boy doing math captioned, “Sambo making a noise like a student.”
- Page 155: In a section honoring Doctor Tom, a Black staff member, it reads, “…his skin is black, but what of that? He does the best he can.”
The Howler 1911
- Page 82: Illustration of lynching on the law school’s page captioned, “The limb of the law.”
The Howler 1913
- No page number, law school section: Illustration of white lawyer and Black client. Captioned, “A legal cram.”
The Howler 1917
- Page 72: References to Africans and the Chinese as “barbarians.”
- Page 111: Illustration of two white doctors sawing apart a Black cadaver and preparing to hit him with an axe
- Advertisement on the last page for White’s Ice Cream – “If it’s white, it’s right.”
The Howler 1918
- Page 77: Continued references to “blacking newishes.” Possibly a form of hazing involving putting shoe polish on Freshmen’s faces
- Page 110: “Investigation of the Negro problem… dark continent of Africa.”
The Howler 1919
- Page 82: Image for law school shows Black man being arrested, possibly for theft of a chicken.
- Page 142: Image for track page shows American man with a gun chasing a German soldier.
The Howler 1921
- Last page, “The End”: Drawing of a Black man hanging from a tree
The Howler 1922
- Page 217: Illustration of Native American with weapons under “Clubs” section
The Howler 1923
- Page 125: Black jazz band playing for dancing white couple
- Page 187: Illustration of Black woman chasing Black male with a broom under “Clubs” section
- Page 199: Story about two “darkies” named Rastus and Sambo
The Howler 1924
- Page 131: Illustration of Black man running with either a watermelon or a football for the track team page.
- Page 137: Possible image of KKK uniform under Organizations section
The Howler 1926
- Page 244: Medical school picture of a dissection, captioned “Sliced n—-r”
The Howler 1927
- Page 139: Under law section, illustration of a white policeman holding a bat, waiting for a black boy to come around a corner.
- Page 279: Illustration of a Black man running on the track team page.
The Howler 1928
- Page 143: Illustration of a black couple with divorce papers outside “Blackwell & Co. Attorney at Law”
- Page 327: Images of Black cadavers.
- Page 329: End of humor section, “Tourist: ‘We must be getting South – we’re hitting more colored people.'”
The Howler 1931
- No page number, ads at end: Use of racial slur
- Opposite page: Anti-Semitic joke about rabbis
The Howler 1935
- No page number, joke section at end: Repeated joke from previous Howlers using racial slur
The Howler 1936
- Page 97: Photograph shows three white doctors dissecting Black man.
- Page 113: Image of man hanging from neck and blindfolded. Unsure of race, possibly white. Similar image on page 114.
- Page 117: Image of man pretending to chop another man’s head off. Captioned, “Pulling a Pocahuntas” [sic].
The Howler 1939
- Page 27: Photograph of four white men watching as a Black boy sings, captioned “The boys look on as the jig does some jiving.”
The Howler 1942
- Page 92-93: Piece on the “invasion” of women on campus called “Co-eds Invade Campus.”
The Howler 1946
- Page 74: Photograph of a single man in front of a group of women. Captioned, “Dave Hill during ‘Women Hater’s Week.'”
- Page 122: A woman is pictured in the process of putting dark face paint on a female actress.
The Howler 1949
- Page 86: Photograph of student Tom Fetzer with two confederate flags hanging on the wall
The Howler 1952
- Page 16: “Emphatic Threats, Blazing Torches, Mass Enthusiasm–Not the KKK, but a WFC Pep Rally!”
- Page 20: “Blackface burlesque” at a Kappa Alpha fraternity function.
The Howler 1955
- Page 107: Photographs of students in a production in which they wear “yellow face” and Asian clothing.
The Howler 1957
- Page 174: Women perform in blackface for the Woman’s Recreation Association. Captioned “Pickaninnies from the deep South frolic on lawn in Magnolia Festival dance.”
The Howler 1958
- Page 209: Photograph of student performance by the “PIK Aninny Shoe Shine Boys,” showing fraternity members doing a performance in blackface.
The Howler 1959
- Page 206: Photograph of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity party, with students sitting in front of a wall graffitied “Heil Hitler” with a swastika
- Page 227: Photograph of three women posing in blackface.
The Howler 1961
- Page 181, 201: Photographs of orientalist theater production with students dressed as Arabs.
The Howler 1962
Historical context In 1962, Trustees made the decision to approve integration.
- Page 12: A fraternity member is in blackface competing for the APO Ugly Man Trophy.
The Howler 1964
- Page 152: Photographs and description of Kappa Alpha fraternity’s annual Old South Ball, where members wear Confederate uniforms and fly Confederate flags.
The Howler 1965
- Page 10-11: Narrative of Vietnam war, including cartoon illustration by “fax” of a Vietnamese man leading around a tiger with a box on its back that is full of what appear to be rolling pins and barbed wire labeled “Communism.”
- Page 175: Photograph shows group of Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers running with Confederate flags. The picture is captioned, “Kappa Alpha pledges renew a charge for Dixie, but the 100-year ‘recess’ continues just the same.”
- Page 183: Photo of burning cross on the plaza captioned, “A fiery, home-made cross sizzles into ashes while chants of disgust echo on the plaza.”
The Howler 1966
- Page 163: Photograph of SOPH organization women dress in Asian inspired garments captioned, “SOPH Geisha Girls tacked on broad smiles and kind words for freshmen rushees entering their “Japanese Garden” during formal spring rush.”
The Howler 1967
- Page 14: Photograph of 4 individuals in blackface at a carnival captioned, “Narrated by Celie ‘Mammy’ McAdams, the Fideles presented a variety show complete with minstrels, comedians, and dancing girls.”
- Page 205-207: Individual photos of first Black basketball player Norwood Todmann, number 10, but not pictured in team portrait.
The Howler 1968
- Page 30: Photographs of homecoming are contrasted by a photo of “racial disturbances” that “simmered in Winston-Salem”
- Page 154: A confederate flag is waved at an unnamed event.
The Howler 1969
- Page 184: Section dedicated to non-Greek students entitled, “G.D.I.’s” shows photograph of a group of Black students playing cards. The article next to it states, “The black students have a special problem: they are a close knit group because they feel alienated by the rest of the school. This alienation is exhibited in the barriers which they often experience in social situations, and consequently in the tendency they have to stay in a group.”
- Page 202: Confederate flags on the Kappa Alpha fraternity page.
The Howler 1970
- Page 148-149: Pages about a new club, the Afro-American Society. The text reads, “Total enrollment 29 males, 4 coeds; academic requirements, understanding, trust, respect, suffering, poverty, disappointment, satisfaction. wake forest university: white wake forest–the abused, the accused, the absurd; the other wake forest–eminently together, prerequisite for survival. wake forest university: cultural studies–emphasis on europeans and asians–all across your seas; black studies–one–all across town, over in your ghetto. wake forest university: “pro humanitate”–“anti noir.” the administration: assertive power. The student body: unrealized potential. Both at fault. Solution: “paint a white professor black… everything else at wake forest is fake.”
- Page 151: Photograph of two men students in Confederate uniforms with a woman student dressed in a hoop skirt gown between them, the Kappa Alpha cross on the wall behind them.
The Howler 1972
- No page number: Sign reads “This is Klan Country. Love it or leave it. Help fight communism and integration.”
The Howler 1975
- Page 58: Two men in blackface for the Sigma Chi fraternity.
The Howler 1976
- Page 48: Photograph of a man in blackface at a Sigma Pi fraternity event, standing next to a man in white garments with a hood
The Howler 1977
- Page 24: Photograph of Confederate flag next to a bust of a Native American man.
- Page 61: Photograph of a group of men in blackface performing.
The Howler 1978
- Page 16, 115: Photograph of play production “The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia” shows a white and Black actor performing in a play about a KKK-like group. Confederate flag and a cross are in the background.
- Page 117: One woman in cabaret photographs wears a swastika armband
- Page 143: Confederate flag in Kappa Alpha fraternity photograph.
- Page 310: Photograph of two men dressed as Arab terrorists, wearing a keffiyeh and holding an automatic weapon.
The Howler 1979
- Page 23: Photograph of two men in blackface holding lanterns captioned, “All and all the complexion of the campus changes drastically as students dress up and parade to parties.”
The Howler 1981
- Page 121: Photograph of Kappa Alpha fraternity’s annual party dressed in Confederate uniforms with Confederate flags captioned “Each year the KA’s relive the spirit of the “Old South.”
- Page 252: Photograph of three men sitting on wall with one woman walking by. Captioned, “One, two, three, ten… How do you rate? It’s the job of the wall sitters to decide.”
The Howler 1982
- Page 171: Large confederate flag in Kappa Alpha fraternity group portrait
The Howler 1984
- Page 174: Large confederate flag in Kappa Alpha’s group portrait.
The Howler 1985
- Page 35: On the section entitled “Election ’84” a student holds a sign reading, “We know where you stand Jesse” with a burning cross, and a KKK hood with glasses on it, referring to North Carolina’s U.S. Senator Jesse Helms
- Page 118: Photograph of Kappa Alpha fraternity with Confederate flag in the background. Text reads, “In the spring was the Old South Celebration, held to honor the traditions of the old South. Dressed in Confederate uniforms, the brothers upheld the ideas and lifestyle of the period.”
- Page 139: Picture of a float that won the Spirit Walk award. A white woman is dressed as a Native American and appears to be tied to a tree with a teepee in the background. A Black man dresses as a Native American with his hands in prayer position.
The Howler 1987
- Page 110: Kappa Alpha fraternity displays confederate flag in group portrait.
The Howler 1988
- Page 118: A White Women’s Society member is dressed as a Native American.
The Howler 1991
- Page 206-207: Photograph of a group of men appear to be either in blackface or camo paint, unclear due to the photograph being Black and white. Party themes include “transvestite” and “jungle,” a photograph of which shows a man with his face painted in the caricature of a tribal mask.
- Page 223: Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has a tribal themed party. One man in “tribal” face paint.
The Howler 2000
- Page 84-85: Section “Division Over Union: Campus and Community Divided Over Beliefs, University Censorship.” A proposed same-sex marriage for Wendy Scott and Susan Parker, a divinity student, in Wait Chapel causes controversy. A trustee recommended that it shouldn’t be held at Wait Chapel. As stated in the article, staff members at WFDD said they felt their jobs were being threatened after Sandra Boyette, VP for university advancement, told WFDD to only cover the story by relaying the info from the trustees’ and President Hearn’s releases.
The Howler 2003
- Page 100-101: This portion of the yearbook states, “For the past 12 years, Wake Forest’s homecoming king and queen have been African American. Composed of roughly 11% multicultural students, our homecoming king and queen have failed to represent the entire student body…. But, should Wake Forest continue its 12 year tradition of electing a homecoming king and queen that represent only a small portion of students, or will we change our ways and elect the male and female that best represent this school?”
The Howler 2007
- Page 167: Mention of Kappa Alpha’s “Rap Video Party,” which caused controversy due to racist costumes.