— Kenneth Chenault American business executive 1951
Context: I found that Bowdoin had some exceptional black graduates. It was incredible reading about their trials and tribulations and successes coming into an environment that was sometimes hostile, or at the very least mixed in its reception. I also learned that there were a few people in the local community and faculty members who played important roles for these individuals. Writing that paper gave me a sense of awe at the level of talent that had come to Bowdoin over the years.
You asked me how I ended up at Bowdoin. Frankly it is far more interesting to find out how these people wound up at Bowdoin and what sustained them, what got them through. What Bowdoin can be, and should be proud of, is that it had some incredibly illustrious and impressive blacks who went there during some very challenging times. … The College’s breadth and depth of talent and its very history were impressive. Also, the fact that the Afro-Am was a site for the Underground Railroad was very poignant and very meaningful to me.