Authors@Alden: A Conversation with Carl H. Walker

Walker’s book features 18 African-American alumni’s memories of life at OHIO in the 1950s.

On Saturday, September 28th as part of the Authors@Alden series, OHIO Libraries will host a conversation with Carl H. Walker. The topic of discussion is his book, “Soulful Bobcats: Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University during the 1950s,” a collection of African-American alumni’s accounts of campus life in the era between segregation and the civil rights movement. 

Walker, an OHIO alumnus and former professor of criminal justice at Clark Atlanta University, organized a group called Soulful Bobcats to preserve bonds forged in the 50s and 60s.

Decades later, the group’s informal gatherings resulted in this book. Soulful Bobcats, published in 2013, reconstructs the worlds of 18 alumni who ventured into the predominantly white university setting well before the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling.  

Walker reminisced about hangouts in the student union and racial tensions in the classroom, as well as academics — and romantic pursuits — at Chubb Library. He and his college sweetheart-turned-wife often met at the Library to study before relaxing with friends. The institution, he said, was an integral part of his college experience.

“I would hate to think of a student who goes through his undergraduate years and fails to appreciate the significance of the Library, both intellectually and socially,” Walker said.

Describing the timing of the event as “critical,” Walker believes that discussions like Authors@Alden are crucial for the preservation of his generation’s experiences.

“We are passing on,” he said.  “And this opportunity to leave a footprint in the sand, particularly in an intellectual setting like Alden Library and Ohio University, is a wonderful thing.”

Open to the public, Authors@Alden will be held in the 1951 Lounge on the fourth floor of Alden Library on Saturday, September 28th from 1-3 p.m. A live webcast of the event will be available on the Authors@Alden page.