University of Florida Black History Month. Dr. Kitty Oliver ( Race and Change), a celebrated journalist, nonfiction writer, and oral historian, entered the University of Florida in 1965. She was one of only 35 African American students of 18,000 enrolled and one of only 5 black freshmen to integrate campus housing. She tells her story in “Multicolored Memories of a Black Southern Girl”. In her narrative, Oliver recalled young adulthood in her mid-1960s transition from Jacksonville to Gainesville: her participation in voter-registration drives and picketing stores that racially discriminated; being “randomly selected” to have a black roommate in the dorm at UF, and the next semester, being immediately rejected by the white roommate assigned; some students’ treating her as “exotic” and her first flirtations with non-black men; guarded but fruitful relationships with black physical plant workers and local residents of Gainesville; intense and shifting intraracial disagreements over “Black Power” or “flower child” campus identities. Dr. Oliver discloses the hardships of being one of a handful of blacks at UF, but she also expressed appreciation to those who had come before her to “kick down the door” so that she could have a choice of institutions and be “one of the first to see daylight and walk on in.” #UFTrailBlazer #BlackHistoryMonth
Exerpt from “I Was One of the First to See Daylight” : Black Women at Predominantly White Colleges and Universities in Florida since 1959 by @professor.s.y.evans
Her public television and video productions are used widely by schools and libraries She is producer and host of the 10-part series “Crossing Cultures/Changing Lives”, airing on WBEC-TV. In addition, she produces videos, podcasts, and blogs on race and ethnic relations and changes across generations. She is a lecturer and workshop leader on creative nonfiction writing techniques and memoir writing, and a professional jazz singer. She conducts community oral history field work and is a member of the Oral History Association.