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The Maroon Tiger: The Voice of the Students of Morehouse College

Cover art by Wilmer Jennings: The Maroon Tiger 9:4 (January 1934)

The Maroon Tiger, Morehouse College’s weekly student run newspaper was first issued in 1898 as The Athenaeum. The publication was renamed The Maroon Tiger in 1925 and became a monthly publication. The publication highlighted student life and campus activities, such as the dramatic arts, music, and sports. The magazine also provided an arena for poetry, fiction and opinion. American poet and writer Tom Dent was a contributor while he attended from 1948-1952, as was fellow alumni Martin Luther King, Jr. The Amistad Research Center’s School Newspaper Collection contains nine issues of The Maroon Tiger dating 1926-1950.

Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically African American college located in Atlanta, Georgia. The college is one of the few remaining traditional men's liberal arts colleges in the United States and is the largest men's college in the United States, with an enrollment over 2,000 students.

The Maroon Tiger is notable for the richness of the opinion pieces contained within. Readers of the publication will find opinion pieces covering everything from politics and race relations, to the virtues of government versus big business, to religion and the influence of scientific thought. College campuses first became prominent centers of student radical activity in the 1930s, with their main focus on foreign policy. Communist Party members and sympathizers played an important role. For the most part, the 1930s student movement focused on off-campus issues, with the exception of threats to campus freedom of expression.

Battle, H.J. “Youth Movements In America” The Maroon Tiger 9:4 (January 1934)

Issues from the 1930s of The Maroon Tiger note the lack of student organizing around domestic political and social issues. This foreign and antiwar focus of student activity is often focused on “The New Germany” and the youth movements in Germany, as well as China, and Russia. H.J. Battle notes in his article “Youth Movements In American,” found within the January 1934 issue, that America’s youth are starting to become galvanized from “complacency and apathy” by starting to organize themselves to improve domestic conditions, including economic hardship and discrimination. Battle discusses having attended the various conferences in 1933 of the Communist-led National Student League (1932-1926); the International Student Services (1933), the student affiliate of the social-democratic League for Industrial Democracy; and the National Student Federation of America (1925-circa 1941). He acknowledges each organization’s purpose for change and offers his opinion that the “racial can perhaps intensify the desire for a new order.” Battle puts a call out for action to the students of Morehouse College.

“I consider all these movements very important. The variety of views will help us to see the situation at various angles and, by careful comparison, to determine the best course to follow. I hope that more Negro students will join in these efforts. In the NSL Convention and in the conference on the students in politics I saw very few Negroes, and only two Negro colleges are members of the NSFA despite the fact that all of the organizations welcome Negroes without any discrimination.”

Images from the School Newspaper Collection. Images from Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.

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