Article "Children of the Old Campus"

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Article "Children of the Old Campus"
Alumni Bulletin


This article from the Alumni Bulletin of Spring 1951 was told from the perspective of Broadus Mitchell, the oldest son of Samuel Chiles Mitchell. Samuel Chiles Mitchell taught on the "Old Campus" in downtown Richmond. The essay details what life was like for the children of professors living in a college campus environment. Mitchell wrote about the period from roughly 1895-1905, when about six children of professors or administrators were living, playing, and growing up on the Old Campus. The article told about the formal and informal teachers of the children; including the students on campus and the predominantly African American housekeeping and groundskeeping staff. Mitchell documented the names and personality of the African American staff that the children interacted with on campus, and particularly spoke about Willie James, the cook and counselor in their home. Of Willie James, Mitchell wrote, "I cannot think without affectionate gratitude for her combination of tenderness and stern discipline that sprang equally from her generous heart. It is well-recognized that southern children often had two mothers...", which signifies the prominent role that some African American employees played in the raising of white children on the University campus. The tone of this article implies that the children's parents were not very present in their lives, and instead, that they were raised primarily by the campus employees. Of this Mitchell wrote, "I have not said much of our parents. Happily some survive to receive our gratitude for the liberty they gave us."


p. 2, 27


Spring 1951




Archives 81.1
Alumni Bulletin, Volumes 11-15, 1946-1951

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Student Contributor





Mitchell, Broadus , “Article "Children of the Old Campus",” University of Richmond Race & Racism Project, accessed May 18, 2024,