Guide to the J. Benton White Papers 2019.06.03

Monica Keane
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
June 2019
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028
special.collections@sjsu.edu


Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: J. Benton White Papers
Identifier/Call Number: 2019.06.03
Physical Description: 1 Box .42 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1967-2007
Date (bulk): 1967-1971
Abstract: J. Benton White (d. 1931- ) was the first ombudsman on racial issues at San Jose State University. His position was created in 1967 by President Robert D. Clark in response to racial conflict and discrimination on campus, and was the first of its kind at a college or university in the United States. The bulk of the papers are correspondence, news clippings and reports from 1967-1971.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series: Subject Files and Office Files. Folders in the first series have been alphabetized by title and materials have been kept in original order. Folders in the second series have been alphabetized by format and materials have been arranged chronologically.

Content Description

The J. Benton White Papers consist primarily correspondence, news clippings, some photographs and reports that White created and collected in his position as SJSU ombudsman for race relations from 1967-1969.
White was included in discussions of racial discrimination on campus, especially against black and Mexican-American students. The papers reflect the activities of the civil rights movement on the SJS College campus, especially regarding housing discrimination. A major topic of interest documented in the papers is the decision of SJS College and Stanford athletes to wear black armbands in football games against Brigham Young University in 1969 to protest discrimination against black people by the Church of Latter-day Saints. The papers also address administration of the Economic Opportunity Program (EOP), which was created to support minority and economically disadvantaged students succeed in college.

Biographical / Historical

J. Benton White (d. 1931- ) grew up in Alabama and studied theology at Emory University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He began serving as a chaplain for the Air Force in the late 1950s, before moving to the Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry, at the University of Nebraska. In 1961, he came to California to direct the Wesley Foundation at San José State College and became active in the civil rights movement on campus. President Robert D. Clark in the fall of 1967 chose White to be the first ombudsman, a position created in response to racial discrimination and conflict. It was the first of its kind at a college or university in the United States and became a model for similar roles at other institutions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
After serving as ombudsman for two years, White became the assistant to the interim president of SJS College, Hobert Burns in 1969. He founded the Religious Studies program in 1970 and worked as SJSU faculty until his retirement in 1992. He has written several academic books in the field of religious studies, published a novel and continues to be active in the United Methodist Church.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Monica Keane, June 2019

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Subjects and Indexing Terms

San José State University
Ombudspersons
Race discrimination -- California -- San Jose

 

Series I: Subject Files 1967-1999 1967-1969

Arrangement

The materials in this series are original subject files of the creator related to specific incidents and individuals from his time as SJSU ombudsman. Folders in this series have been alphabetized by title and materials have been kept in original order.

Scope and Contents

Subject files created by J. Benton White related to his position as SJS College ombudsman for race relations. A major topic of interest is the decision of SJS College and Stanford athletes to wear black armbands in football games against Brigham Young University in 1969 to protest discrimination against black people by the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Box 1, Folder 1

Brigham Young Univ. Football Game 1969

Box 1, Folder 2

Confidential--Bronzan, Bob

Box 1, Folder 3

President Clark's Death

Box 1, Folder 4

Speed City

 

Series II: Office Files 1967-1999 1967-1971

Arrangement

The materials in this series document the professional activities of the creator in his role as SJSU ombudsman, as well as public information that he collected related to this role. The folders have been arranged alphabetically by format and materials have been arranged chronologically within each folder.

Scope and Contents

General files created by J. Benton White related to his position as SJS College ombudsman for race relations. White was included in discussions of racial discrimination on campus, especially against black and Mexican-American students. The papers also reflect the administration of the Economic Opportunity Program (EOP), which was created to support minority and economically-disadvantaged students succeed in college. The correspondences from students and community organizations to White and President Clark reflect the civil rights movement on the SJS campus.
Box 1, Folder 5

Article, Benton 1971

Box 1, Folder 6

Correspondence to President Clark 1968-1969

Box 1, Folder 7

Correspondence from White 1967-1969

Box 1, Folder 8

Correspondence to White 1968-1969

Box 1, Folder 9

Meeting Notes 1968-1969

Box 1, Folder 10

News Clippings 1967

Box 1, Folder 11

News Clippings 1968

Box 1, Folder 12

News Clippings 1969

Box 1, Folder 13

News Clippings, undated

Box 1, Folder 14

News Releases, Administration 1968-1969

Box 1, Folder 15

Notes on the History of the Academic Senate at SJSU 1999

Box 1, Folder 16

Ombudsman Assemblies and Reports 1968-1971

Box 1, Folder 17

Photos circa 1969

Box 1, Folder 18

Speeches and Public Statements, White 1967-1968

Box 1, Folder 19

University Administration Documents 1968-1970