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A three-day, three-session conference was held in the town of Swarthmore, at the Woolman School, from April 11-13, 1924. It focused on student-led discussions. The conference was co-organized by Bryn Mawr College's Liberal Club, Swarthmore College's Polity Club, and the Forum from the University of Pennsylvania. The Woolman School was a Quaker study and living center.2 The building is now a dorm, called Woolman House, on the campus of Swarthmore College. The Quaker educational facility, now known as Pendle Hill, is located in Wallingford, PA. The purpose of the 1924 conference was to convene Black and white students “with the hope that they may understand each other’s difficulties.”3

The first session was held on April 11, 1924 and addressed the question “What is the Negro problem?” The second session considered the issue “Is racial discrimination warranted, economically, legally, or socially?” The third session centered on the matter of “Amalgamation or segregation?” Among the conclusions reached at the conference, the delegates agreed that Black people should be permitted to enroll at all educational institutions and that those who attended the conference should raise awareness in their own circles.4  However, Bryn Mawr delegates believed that Black students would have a hard time socially at the College, therefore concluding it would be best if they did not apply. 

 

Bryn Mawr College did not admit Black students before 1926. Two years after the 1924 conference was held, Bryn Mawr President Marion Edwards Park discussed the subject with M. Carey Thomas, then director of the College. They concluded that they would permit Black students to attend, but only as non-residents. Their correspondence is available in more detail at "Black at Bryn Mawr."


1. The Crisis was the magazine of the NAACP, edited by W.E.B. Du Bois. Volumes from 1910-1922 are available at modjourn.org

2."Intercollegiate Conference on Negro-White Relationship,"The Hilltop, April 19, 1924.

3."Conference at Swarthmore to Discuss Negro Problem," The College News,April 9, 1924.

4.Corbie, F. Eugene, "A Portent,"The Crisis, July, 1924.

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