Edited by Don Wycliff and David Krashna
Foreword by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC
Black Domers tells the compelling story of racial integration at the University of Notre Dame in the post–World War II era. In a series of seventy-five essays, beginning with the first African-American to graduate from Notre Dame in 1947 to a member of the class of 2017 who also served as student body president, we can trace the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the African-American experience at Notre Dame through seven decades.
Don Wycliff and David Krashna’s book is a revised edition of a 2014 publication. With a few exceptions, the stories of these graduates are told in their own words, in the form of essays on their experiences at Notre Dame. The range of these experiences is broad; joys and opportunities, but also hardships and obstacles, are recounted. Notable among several themes emerging from these essays is the importance of leadership from the top in successfully bringing African-Americans into the student body and enabling them to become fully accepted, fully contributing members of the Notre Dame community. The late Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president of the university from 1952 to 1987, played an indispensable role in this regard and also wrote the foreword to the book.
This book will be an invaluable resource for Notre Dame graduates, especially those belonging to African-American and other minority groups, specialists in race and diversity in higher education, civil rights historians, and specialists in race relations.
“ Black Domers is a remarkable read. Through the contributors’ masterful balance of narrative depth and historical breadth, readers are able to witness the trials, tribulations, brilliance, and resilience of black students at Notre Dame over the past seven decades. Reading this book left me emotional at times. Still, I remained inspired with a resolute sense of pride to walk the campus where these trailblazers broke down barriers. Black Domers serves not only as a testament to how far we have come, but as a charge to continue the important work of ensuring that the experiences of every member of the Notre Dame family are consistent and reflect well of Our Lady.” — Eric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion, University of Notre Dame
“I believe that there is tremendous value in capturing these narratives, not only in terms of the individual stories but also what they reflect when taken as a whole. This book makes an invaluable contribution to the history of Notre Dame as well as affirmative action, Catholic history, black Catholic history, and ethnic history in the age of civil rights.” — Ann Firth, chief of staff to the president, University of Notre Dame
“Some stories need to be lived in order to be told truthfully, truly and fully. But even an African-American student would be unable to tell the story of being black at Notre Dame because there is no single story, no singular experience, no one person who can speak for all who have come here from so many places, families, and personal histories. It would take a book to explain. And one with many voices. Now we have that book.” — Kerry McPhee Temple, editor, Notre Dame Magazine
" Black Domers provides evidence that determined, hardworking, intellectually gifted, and average African-American students can succeed in academically demanding, predominantly white academic institutions committed to their success. The testimonies of these African-American graduates, ‘the Black Domers’ of Notre Dame, give witness to how they grew ‘in wisdom, age, and grace’ as they formed community, embraced redemptive suffering, and worked with other members of the Notre Dame community to create a diverse and inclusive community of activists whose scholarship and skills could contribute to the transformation of the world using the transformation of the university as a prototype." — Jamie T. Phelps, OP, instructor at St. Ambrose and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes, Chicago