Southern Illinois University Carbondale Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Called ‘Fire Traps’ By Residents ‘Nauseous’
Called ‘Fire Traps’ By Residents ‘Nauseous’
Item IDegyptian19550215called.tif
TitleCalled ‘Fire Traps' By Residents ‘Nauseous'
AuthorBy Bob McClure and Jerry Kolesky Egyptian Staff Writers
DescriptionMost male Negro students at Southern live in private homes in the northeast part of Carbondale, more than a mile from campus. Virtually all the buildings are old-fashioned wood-frame clapboard structures, in dire need of paint, repair and general remodeling.
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Date1955 February 15
Volume36
Issue33
Page(s)1
Digital File Format.TIF (Tagged Image Format)
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rights StatementAll copyrights held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email: http://reftrack.lib.siu.edu/reft100.aspx?key=SCRCEmail&cllcid=SCRR
CollectionDaily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
TranscriptCalled ‘Fire Traps' By Residents ‘Nauseous'

By Bob McClure
and Jerry Kolesky
Egyptian Staff Writers

Most male Negro students at Southern live in private homes in the northeast part of Carbondale, more than a mile from campus. Virtually all the buildings are old-fashioned wood-frame clapboard structures, in dire need of paint, repair and general remodeling. Only a few have modern conveniences, Usual rent range is $3.5O to $4 per student —Just about what white students pay for
much superior lodgings much nearer the university.
Students sit in their living rooms, with their landlords or landladies at their elbows, and
tell you they find such facilities "satisfactory."
Get thet alone in the Student Union. however, and their story is much different.
Many of these homes, we found, have pot-bellied heating stoves in the living rooms. These have the
job of heating five, six, sometime seven or eight rooms. In such cases, the doors to the upstairs
rooms, where students live. are kept shut so the downstairs rooms will stay warm.
Cooking in such homes is on wood and coal stoves that serve also as auxiliary heating units,
We found several houses with virtually no studying facilities. One, which houses five students, hasn't even a desk or table on which to lay books. All the' studying is at a downstairs dining room table, all the light from a 50-watt bulb hanging from the ceiling.
The wallpaper was dull and dingy. The spiraling staircase, about two feet wide, was badly in
need of repair. The linoleum up stairs was crumpled and torn. Sections of it would break and slide under the feet, revealing gaping cracks in the dirty floorboards.
In another house a student had just finished his washing and had hung the clothes in his room to
dry. In the same room another student was ironing. a third was trying to study by the light coming
through the window.
We found several houses without indoor toilets. several with only handpumps in the kitchens:
to provide water.
From all of them there's the long walk to school enduring the cold in zero weather, slogging
through seas of mud when it's warmer. "And no sidewalks to walk on much of the way, " one
student pointed out.
We found one outstanding exception to the general rule —one house in which living conditions
seem to be completely satisfactory, In general, say the students, the better houses in the area aren't
available to them.
For the others, one student said. ‘‘I think the landlords are out to make money on the students, not
to give them better living conditions."
"At midnight, " said another
"Our landlord turns the heat off and you begin to freeze if you stay up into the morning hours
studying. Or you may wake up in morning with no heat."
"Our house became so bad the owners moved out." said another.
"But they sill rent it to students."
Many of the houses are unsafe, residents say, The one the owners moved out of said the student,
"is a fire trap."
They're all fire traps, said another. "If there's even a fire in mine, the students'll nevet get
out. It'd burn like paper.
"If our house, burns, said a third, "if the stairway goes, the it students'll be trapped."
As to sanitation, residents of homes with inside toilets found them only slightly better than those
with toilets outside. ‘‘When you
get up at night you need a flash—
light to find ours, '' said one of
the latter. When it rains it's
very muddy. And there's no such thing as flushing a toilet. so the smell just permeates the atmosphere."
We have a washroom.'' said another, "but we have to go down two stories to get to it."
"In our house, " said a third, "there's one bathroom for nine fellows, and it has no door.
Just curtains hanging in the doorway. And it's right in the middle of the house where there's no ventilation."
"Practically speaking, there is NO sanitation where I live." said a fourth. "We've no doors on the
washrooms, either; just drapes. The smell becomes nauseating.
‘‘Also'' he continued. ‘‘we have
four dinner plates. and 10 fellows have to eat from them at meal times."
As to space:
‘‘Many students have to leave their clothes in suitcases because there's no closet space.'' said one.
‘We have no closet space either" said another. ‘‘So we hang our clothes on wire strung across the room.
‘‘In our house, the roof leaks whenever it rains. Leaks so badly
at times that one night mr roommate wore his raincoat to bed. After a heavy rain my beds always
soaked on one side."
Many of us have to keep oil stoves in our rooms in winter. Too cold in the winter, too hot in
the summer, that's the situation in a nutshell."
"The radiator system in our house is no good. Every week a repair man makes some adjustments but still it never works right."
"You can feel the cold air coming through our window
frames any time."
‘‘Just recently a student lost his
pen in the stairway to our house.
It's so dark. so torn up he couldn't ever find it.''
"I've hit my head every time on low-hanging beams on our stairways. So dark I couldn't see.
LanguageEnglish
TypeText
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