Untold Stories was initiated at the suggestion of Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students Mike Edmonds, who noted that institutions can only grow in inclusion and diversity if they acknowledge the hard truths of racism and discrimination in their past and present.
“We need to know the stories of people who came, suffered, and grew,” Edmonds said.
By telling the stories of marginalized persons who have studied, taught, and worked at Colorado College, we learn that yes, we’ve made gains, but we also have much more work to do. Quite often, we learn of remarkable resilience.
The project was originally referred to as the “People’s History at CC,” in reference to Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States,” which revealed untold stories of U.S. history and struggle from the perspective of common people of all backgrounds. The CC project was renamed “Untold Stories” to more simply communicate its intent to broad audiences.
The project began in summer 2018. Two interns, recent graduate Eviva Kahne ’18 and student Chaline Lobti ’19, were supported in archive research methods by Assistant Professor Amy Kohout, Professor Carol Neel, and Associate Professor Jane Murphy of the CC History Department. The interns researched and pursued the first four stories, and explored potential elements that could be included in web pages devoted to the project as it unfolds.
The project’s beginnings were guided by Assistant Vice President/Director of the Butler Center Paul Buckley, Butler Center Associate Director Pearl Leonard-Rock, and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Nikkita McPherson. The staff of the Office of Communications provided expertise, including Vice President for Communications Jane Turnis; Assistant Vice President for Communications Felix Sanchez ’93; KRCC Managing Editor Andrea Chalfin; KRCC Producer/Reporter Jake Brownell ’12; Video Producer Rachel San Luis ’10; Director of Web and Digital Media Mark Lee; Editorial Director Jen Kulier; Writer Laurie Laker ‘12; Graphic Designer Chris Schwing and Project Manager Naomi Trujillo.
Archivist and Curator of Special Collections Jessy Randall and Coordinator Amy Brooks assisted – and continue to help – to find relevant materials to bring depth and breadth to the stories.
Special thanks to Sonlatsa “Sunshine” Jim-Martin ’94, retired Associate Dean of the College Victor Nelson-Cisneros, and Juanita Martin, daughter of Dolphus Stroud ’31 and niece of Effie Stroud ’31 for being the first to share these valuable stories.
Going forward, a committee of alumni, faculty, and staff will select the next CC people to feature, and readers can share stories for consideration using the link on the main Untold Stories page.
President Jill Tiefenthaler, in outlining efforts to critically examine racism at CC, expressed her commitment to this ongoing project. “To become a more diverse and equitable community, it is important to recognize the experiences and contributions of persons of color who have helped shape CC,” she said. “This work is crucial to building a community that sees, hears, respects, and honors everyone.”
These first stories are only a beginning of what we intend to become a trove of stories of marginalized persons who studied, taught, or worked at CC. We are grateful for these people. Colorado College is a better place because of them.