Writing Our Story


Walter Williams

Publication Date


Coverage Date Range


Document Type

Oral History


Mr. Williams begins his oral history by describing the high school he attended and the extracurricular activities he was involved in. He discusses his decision to apply to and attend Denison, and how one of his high school guidance counselors played a likely role in his being admitted. Mr Williams describes how he initially felt behind his peers at Denison academically, but that two faculty took him under their wings, designed a course of study for him, and helped him develop as a student. He talks of coming from a poor, blue-collar family, and what a degree from Denison would likely mean for him in terms of entering a white collar profession. Mr. Williams recounts a gender conflict that he experienced in the student union. He tells the story of how Denison brought Dr. Walter Williams, a black conservative, to speak on how campus, and how Dr. Williams influenced his becoming a black conservative to this day. Mr. Williams recounts an incident where he was insulted when a fellow student asked Mr. Williams if he worked for Physical Plant. He recalls how Denison hosted students from Morehouse and Spellman College during J Term, and Mr. Williams noted how much more confident these students were, coming from a more nurturing environment for black students. He talks about the emotional toll that being a black student at Denison had on him. Mr. Williams recounts his experience with a difficult professor in business school. He discusses some of his extra-curricular activities at Denison, as well as his work-study experience. Mr. Williams recounts how he wasn’t considered black enough by some of his peers, but this changed after he wrote a story in the black student newspaper about his negative experience with white peers during a summer job at a bank in Cleveland. He tells the story of being mocked for dressing preppy at a Black Student Union party. Mr. Williams shares his sense of kinship with Homestead students as outsiders in certain respects. He describes when he considered running for Student Council President. Mr. Williams expresses his concerns with how the Administration accommodated some individual black students academically. He shares his thoughts on the power of black students collectively and individually, and how these differed. Mr. Williams addresses grading issues related to race and gender. He discusses the role that the BSU played for him and other black students during his time at Denison. Mr. Williams recounts his decision to join a white fraternity, and the reaction from his peers. He discusses the Vanguard and Black Rage, and their impact on campus. And Mr. Williams expresses his opinion about the value of a liberal arts education.

Is a Part of

Writing Our Story


Denison University


Denison University


Williams, Walter (oral history)


Denison University

Repository Publisher

Denison University


Butler, Vanessa


Williams, Walter

dwos_WilliamsFull_20100719.mp3 (70524 kB)
Walter Williams Interview Audio File