Douglas Miles, a native of Baltimore, first came to the Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate student in 1966. This was a period of rapid change for the city of Baltimore as well as the university. Although the university’s administration began actively recruiting African-American students that year, racism and segregation within the city created a hostile environment for many.
In 1968, he joined with Mr. John F. Guess, Jr., Mr. Bruce Baker, and others, to form a Black Student Union. Although black students at other university campuses across the United States were successfully launching student unions, this was far from an easy process. At first, the JHU students were told that such a union would be seen as “hostile and divisive.” Repeated attempts to meet with the JHU university president and other administration officials were also rebuffed. This biography explores the history of how Douglas Miles and John Guess proceeded, and ultimately managed to gain official recognition for the Black Student Union in 1969.
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