Today I want to talk about Fred Milton.
In 1969 Fred was a football player at Oregon State University, and his coach was setting different standards for off-season behavior for players-white players were allowed to grow facial hair, but he (a black player) was being asked to shave his facial hair. In response, the coach kicked him off the team.
In this time of heightened racial turmoil, the Black Student Union at OSU staged a walk-out of campus on March 5, 1969. This walkout made national news and connected Oregon and specifically OSU to other racially charged incidents throughout the country. It also brought focus onto issues of racial inequity on the campus, where the basketball team had no black players on scholarship until 1966.
This action and the resulting protests, rallies, and actions of the university would lead to decades of reduced enrollment at one of the nation’s best Land-Grant Universities for Black Students.