William Middlebrook Requests Information About Housing for Negro Men

Throughout the 1930s, President Coffman sought a “solution” to the “problem” of housing African American students. This 1936 letter from Comptroller Middlebrook, who oversaw housing for the University, to Catherine McBeath, who managed housing, reveals Coffman’s preferred solution. In this letter, Middlebrook inquired about the availability of a University-owned property to house “Negro men.” He advocated “Jim Crow,” or segregated housing, a vision that was finally realized after his death in 1941, when the University created the “International House.” That segregated housing unit led to massive protests and the final end of campus segregation.


RightsUniversity of Minnesota ArchiveTime Period1930s