Ernest Boger

Citation
Ernest Boger

Material Information

Title:
Ernest Boger
Series Title:
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Creator:
Boger, Ernest P
Huse, Andrew T
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (71 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
College integration -- Florida ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Ernest Boger was the first black student to attend the university. He discusses his experiences on campus as a student, and as a black man. He also discusses his studies in psychology and Russian, as well as his extracurricular activities in music and basketball.
Venue:
Interview conducted December 5, 2003.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Andrew Huse.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028931818 ( ALEPH )
232114022 ( OCLC )
U23-00016 ( USFLDC DOI )
u23.16 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
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Ernest Boger was the first black student to attend the university. He discusses his experiences on campus as a student, and as a black man. He also discusses his studies in psychology and Russian, as well as his extracurricular activities in music and basketball.
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segment idx 0time text length 93 Mr. Boger came to USF as a student in 1961. He was the first black student at the university.
124 What brought him to USF?
2429 He graduated from Blake High School in Tampa, and came to USF on recommendation of his assistant principal. He had written an editorial in the school paper suggesting that students enroll at USF, though he had not really considered the option for himself, recalling, "Although I said we, I was not thinking of me." He never forgot that, noting that the recommendation his assistant principal made to him "changed his whole life."
37 Studies
5521 He began with the intention of studying chemistry and physics, in hopes of becoming a chemical engineer. As he explored the different courses though, particularly behavioral sciences, he began to see himself as "more of a people person," and thus made the switch to psychology. "Then too, I didn't have such a great experience with Mr. Calculus either!" Before taking those early courses, he had never really recognized the study of behavior as a science. Once doing so, however, the transition seemed a more natural one.
635 "It was a marriage made in heaven."
78 Location
9594 It was important for him to be able to stay near home. The financial aspect made the decision that much easier to make, recalling that it was $112.50 "for all the courses that you could take!" "That's why I went ... strictly economics." The campus was relatively isolated and had few buildings at that point, he comments, in addition to a great deal of wild foliage and "a lot of sand!" "There was a certain freshness about it ... you could feel the university coming alive!" The student population at the time was fairly modest; in fact, Mr. Boger remembers that his student number was 2,000.
10Admission
12564 At the time, there were separate entrance exams for blacks and whites. Mr. Boger scored nearly perfectly on his exam (492/495), but "nobody was quite sure how to translate the black exam to the white exam." Administrators determined that he had sufficiently met the requirements though, and he was admitted to the University. He recalls receiving a significant amount of attention in the media, but more so for being so involved at the University rather than solely because of the color of his skin. "I got a fair amount of coverage just for doing regular things."
1320 Academic experiences
15251 More influential than individual teachers, whom he has difficulty recalling, was the approach, which emphasized team learning. He met his requirements and graduated after three and a half years at the university, formally receiving his degree in 1965.
1645 Experiences as the first black student at USF
181070 He does not recall feeling particularly different in any specific way. He had an active student life, participating fully in college activities, noting that he "basically didn't think about it." As he remembers, he experienced very few examples of "ugliness" as a black student at the university, aside from a couple inconsequential instances. "You basically look outward, so you have no idea that you look any different from anybody else ... as long as you are treated ok." He notes that he was coming to the school because it gave him an "economic advantage," not because he wanted to make a social statement. The experience was valuable because it gave him "an opportunity to compete in the white world ... giving me kind of a leg up." He thinks the key to a successful transition was the lack of established tradition at USF during that time, because of which he encountered little resistance. Urban demographics also fostered a community of multiculturalism, and "Tampa has been a melting pot for a long, long time, and that spirit ... flowed over onto the campus."
1926 Extracurricular activities
21348 Initially, his love of music drew him into the extracurricular programs here at USF. His involvement in the band helped him to make friends and establish a social link with people of similar interests, "so that made life very very comfortable." He was here when the school song was written, as well as when the bull was chosen as the school mascot.
22253 In the jazz band of which he was a part, they would play classics such as Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and other big band compositions popular to the time. One of his classmates went on to be the bassist on Roberta Flack's first album in the late 1960s.
23539 Although John Allen subordinated formal intercollegiate sports to a preferred "accent on learning," there was still a very active intramural program on campus. Mr. Boger was recruited for the campus basketball team his first year, and his second year he became the team organizer, going on to win the league championship. He was also part of the Russian language club, being compelled by both international politics and the novelty of such a new experience for him. He was actually only one course short of having a Russian teaching minor.
2419 Living arrangements
26527 He lived on campus during his junior year in order to take advantage of some of the financial aid opportunities that were made available to him. The other years he stayed at home and made the commute regularly. "Over the years I had six automobiles ... which means that they lasted about a semester each!" In instances where he could not depend on his own transportation, he would "hitch a ride" with one of the USF custodians who happen to live in his neighborhood; "It was an interesting experience in survival, so to speak."
27Resident life at USF
29392 What he remembers most is the food, depending on the provision of regular meals in order to accommodate his rigorous schedule at the university. He found the dorms to be very convenient, providing him with a regulated environment in which to study. He does recall that while living in the dorms, they used to run comedy tapes across the intercom system, providing residents with a good laugh.
30714 Outside of campus life, he did "as much as any college student could afford," including occasional concerts and restaurant dining. "The only place black students really felt comfortable were the restaurants in Ybor City," he recalls. The university restaurant was the preferred place to go among students, a forum that went through the process of racial integration during the 1960s. He recalls a particular night when he went to the restaurant with the band, the manager refused to serve him. One of the students proclaimed, "If they aren't going to serve Ernie here, we're not going to eat here," and they all moved on to another restaurant. The following day students and faculty began to picket the restaurant.
31111 Soon the process of integration was enforced, and such forums provided equal access to blacks and whites alike.
3216 After graduation
33424 Deferred from the draft while at USF, Mr. Boger later went on and served as an officer in the military following his graduation from the university. He was able to utilize his formal academic training while in the military, serving as a personal psychologist and chief mental testing officer. He worked a number of jobs following his discharge from the military, a time during which he returned to school and earned his MBA.
34After graduation
35Deferred from the draft while at USF, Mr. Boger later went on and served as an officer in the military following his graduation from the university. He was able to utilize his formal academic training while in the military, serving as a personal psychologist and chief mental testing officer. He worked a number of jobs following his discharge from the military, a time during which he returned to school and earned his MBA.
37End of Interview
unicode



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