11/10/2015: The NYT has the story, here:
… What the student demonstrators who toppled the president of the university system and the chancellor of its flagship campus in Columbia this week may not have known was that somewhere out there — in Frankfort, Ky., to be precise — one of those very students, Gus T. Ridgel, now 89, was watching.
In an interview, Mr. Ridgel said he was surprised and disappointed by the racist incidents at the university that prompted a campus upheaval. “I had always looked at the progress that had been made,” he said.
But as a doctorate-holding economist, he said he had to admire the boycotts of university businesses and athletics that Concerned Student 1950, the main student activist group, wielded to force those changes.
“Anything that affects the bottom line is going to get the attention of the leaders,” Mr. Ridgel said Tuesday.
… He gained admission to Missouri’s graduate program in economics in 1950 only after civil rights groups won a court ruling desegregating the university. He decided to attend knowing that one of the black men who had gone to court seeking to break the school’s color barrier had vanished. He lived alone in a two-bed dormitory room in the midst of a campus housing shortage, because no white student would room with him.
Blacks had but one opportunity for off-campus socializing, a coffee shop near the university bookstore. Mr. Ridgel recalled entering a second cafe with three white students: “The man looked up from the counter,” he said, “and said, ‘I can serve you three, but I can’t serve him.’
“And they said, ‘If you can’t serve the four of us, you can’t serve any of us.’ And we walked out.”
He speaks almost matter-of-factly of his past as a path-breaker, and remembers his time at the university, during an era when separate-but-equal was still the law of the land, as surprisingly free of conflict. He said his presence had provoked no racial epithets, like those hurled at the current student body president, who is black, or swastikas scrawled on campus buildings, like the one found in recent weeks.
Rather, a student poll claimed broad support for the admission of blacks. Classmates made a point of sitting with him for meals, he said — and, eventually, asking to study with him. …
There are plenty of things this man should be bitter about. He’s lived through years of racism and discrimination. But he’s not bitter at all. Except for those B’s in Econ.
11/9/2015: University presidents’ chickens come home to roost
Joe Nocera’s NYT column is here: