1969 in Clemson History
Events that occurred in 1969:
- Blue Ridge High School in Seneca (erected in 1955) closes and all students are consolidated at Seneca Senior High, opened August 27, 1967. This was the school for African-American students.
- January 31: Coach Frank Howard is elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. (Bourret, Tim, "Clemson University Football Vault", Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008, ISBN 0794824307, page 65.)
- School of Architecture, headed by Harlan E. McClure, is made the College of Architecture and McClure its dean.
- Last year that freshman are required to participate in mandantory "Rat season" as ROTC is abolished as a requirement the following year.
- Danny Ford graduates at the University of Alabama.
- February 15: The Student League for Black Identity hosts a "Talk In" event in the big gym of Fike Field House, although attendence is lower than expected.
- May: Craig Mobley becomes the first African-American student athlete to sign an athletic grant-in-aid with Clemson University. The six-foot guard had been named the most valuable player on Chester High School's basketball team, as well as MVP in the Eastern AAA Conference in 1968-1969. (Riley, Helene M., "Clemson University", Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2002, Library of Congress card number 2002108889, ISBN 0-7385-1470-5, page 119.) He subsequently joins the staff at WSBF.
- July 16: Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the Moon, launches from Cape Kennedy, Florida with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin on board a Saturn V rocket.
- July 20: Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin become the first humans to ever walk on another planet when they land on the Moon.
- August 19: The South Carolina National Bank on College Avenue is robbed by a lone gunman who escapes with $7,600 in cash. (The Tiger, "Cromer Sought By Police After Clemson Robbery", Friday 17 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 9, page 3.)
- Fall: Clemson fields its final all-white football team.
- September: S.U.N. (Student Union Now) heads drive for creating a student union facility and sponsors a "dig-in" at site of the proposed center, although the event is poorly attended (only 150 students show up), prevalent apathy being also an issue of the period. A petition garners 2,600 signatures, however.
- September: The Holiday Inn of Clemson opens on the Highway 123 By-Pass.
- September 20: Clemson opens football season with a road game to Virginia, winning, 21-14.
- September 27: Clemson hosts number seven Georgia but gets blanked, 0-30.
- October 4: Clemson plays at Georgia Tech, winning, 21-10.
- October: Central Spirit Committee announces, after a meeting with the Student League for Black Identity on October 22, that they will no longer support the playing of "Dixie" or display of the Confederate battle flag at university-sponsored events representing the school. Racial tension escalates as supporters of the flag and song gather 3,100 signatures on a petition. Black students vacate campus for two days "to remove the threat of physical violence" states SLBI President Joe Grant. After several weeks of debate, the Student Senate passes resolutions supporting both symbols, but clearly they are on their way out. Also soon to disappear: the Country Gentleman, a formally dressed figure who had roamed the sidelines since 1939.
- October 10: The Miss Homecoming Contest, sponsored by Central Dance Association and TAPS, is held in Tillman Auditorium at 8 p.m. (The Tiger, "Beauties To Be Judged", Friday 10 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 8, page 10.)
- October 11: Clemson plays at number twenty-ranked Auburn, gets creamed, 0-51.
- October 14: The South Carolina National Bank on College Avenue is robbed at about noon for the second time since August. The lone gunman makes off with over $3,000 in cash. Roland Trent, head of the Columbia FBI office, said that a warrant was issued for twenty-eight year old John Schwartz Cromer of Baily Courts Apartments in Anderson, and according to Trent, Cromer is to be considered "armed and dangerous." (The Tiger, "Cromer Sought By Police After Clemson Robbery", Friday 17 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 9, page 3.)
- October 15: A small, locally organized protest against the U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam in conjunction with a national call-to-action draws some student hecklers and a few minor incidents but is generally successful.
- October 17: Tigerama held in Death Valley. Controversy followed proposed dialogue by a white student in black face portraying Clemson athletic trainer Herman McGee, saying "Here come de fans! Here come de fans! Everybody knows dem is de fans!" according to a United Press International report. "The lines were never said, at least in the way they were planned. A Negro student saw a taped advertisement for the 'Tigerama' show and threatened a court injunction if the lines were not cut out. In the final program, the lines were spoken by a white student with a clean face who carefully pronounced 'the' and 'them.' But the presentation still angered blacks," said the UPI report. Central Dance Association presents Smokey Robinson and the Miracles in Littlejohn Coliseum, 9:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m., a "blanket concert", tickets are $3.50 per person, casual dress. (The Tiger, display advert, Friday 10 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 8, page 10.)
- October 18: Tigers host Wake Forest in Death Valley, winning, 28-14. CDA presents The Four Tops in Littlejohn Coliseum, 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., a "blanket concert", tickets are $4 per person, casual dress. (The Tiger, display advert, Friday 10 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 8, page 10.)
- October 21: John Schwartz Cromer, wanted in connection with the October 15 robbery of the South Carolina National Bank in Clemson, surrenders to FBI agent Ted Conroy in Anderson, at the urging of his attorney. (The Tiger, "Cromer Surrenders", Friday 24 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 10, page 6.)
- October 22: Columbia Festivals, in association with J. H. Zarovich, presents for the first time in America, direct from Moscow, the Fabulous Osipov Balalaika Orchestra with stars of the Bolshoi Opera and Russian Dancers, in Littlejohn Coliseum, 8 p.m.
- October 25: Alabama visits Clemson, defeats the Tigers, 13-38. Cheerleaders carry no flag onto the field at the start of the match, bringing boos and jeers from some in the stands. Some students wave the "Stars and Bars", and others display a flag reading "SPONGE" - "the Society for the Prevention of N_____s Getting Everything," described as "an unchartered campus organization which holds no meetings and has no officers, but has a noisy following." Whenever the Alabama band plays "Dixie", Clemson fans cheer. Bob Hope appears in Littlejohn Coliseum that night, sponsored by CDA. Tickets are $5 per person. President Robert C. Edwards spends the weekend escorting the celebrity around, rather than being available to deal with campus affairs.
- October 26: Sixty African-American students, members of the Student League for Black Identity, walk off campus late Sunday, citing fear of physical harm, two weeks after they raised protests about the portrayal of black football trainer Herman McGee in a "hambone" manner in a Tigerama skit, as well as the playing of "Dixie" and the display of the Confederate battle flag by the Clemson University cheerleaders at university events.
- October 27: Joe Grant, president of the Student League for Black Identity, issues the following statement following a meeting with the Clemson University administration (President R. C. Edwards, Major General Allen Wood Rigsby, Vice President for Executive Affairs, University Counsel, and Secretary to the Board of Trustees): "We have today made further examination of the current situation at Clemson relating to black students. The administration has re-emphasized its desire to work with us in solving these matters to the fullest extent. With this in mind, we are urging all black students to return immediately to campus. We have been assured that the administration will do everything in its power to protect students from physical harm." (Folder 385: Student Organizations - Student League for Black Identity, Series 12, Office of the President, Robert C. Edwards, correspondence 1966-1970.)
- October 31: Central Dance Association presents a Halloween Ball with the Georgia Prophets, and The Persians, in Harcombe Commons - costume or coat and tie - $1.50 per person. (The Tiger, display advert, Friday 24 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 10, page 4.)
- November 1: Clemson hosts Maryland, wins, 40-0. Central Dance Association presents The Four Seasons in Littlejohn Coliseum, 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., $3 per person, casual dress. (The Tiger, display advert, Friday 24 October 1969, Volume LXIII, Number 10, page 4.)
- November 8: The Tigers travel to Duke, lose, 27-34.
- November 15: Clemson plays at North Carolina, loses, 15-32.
- November 20: William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney born in Birmingham, Alabama.
- November 22: The Tigers conclude 4-6 season with a 13-27 loss to South Carolina in Columbia. Clemson is 3-3 in conference play, for third in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
- Late fall: President Robert C. Edwards stops distribution of the Chronicle and a magazine by the Calhoun Literary Workshop due to what he calls "objectionable language." At the same time, he declares that he has not and would not censor any student publication. However, if it walks like a duck...
- November: A November moratorium against the Vietnam war is overruled by the University Executive Council, voting to prohibit the use of university facilities for any regional protest. The Steering Committee of the Clemson Vietnam Moratorium Committee files suit against the Board of Trustees and the Executive Council, but the court rules in favor of the university.
- December 10: Football Coach Frank Howard steps down after thirty years as head coach, but remains on the University payroll as the athletic director.
- December 17: Cecil Hootie Ingram is hired as new football coach.