Blacks Criticize Soc Sci 5 Content

Harvard's one black history course, Social Sciences 5, has come under serious attack by participating students.

As a result of widespread dissatisfaction, the Ad Hoc Committee of Black Students has decided to prepare a critique of the course, Ernest J. Wilson '70, chairman of the committee, said yesterday.

Wilson said he expects the committee to develop alternate reading lists, an alternate outline for course lectures, and suggestions for more discussion groups.

The Ad Hoc Committee will present its critiques to the History Department and to Frank Freidel, professor of History, who teaches the course.

Freidel said last night that the course had been put together hastily last spring, and that he had cancelled another course at the last minute to teach it. He said that Afro made reading suggestions last spring, which were put on the course's reading list.

Freidel added that this was the first time he had lectured so extensively on this subject.

Black students, who constitute slightly under one-fourth of the course's enrollment of about 250, sharply criticized Freidel's lectures in interviews last night.

Clarence James '72 said "Lectures consist of sitting around and telling stories which may be interesting but most often are unreal." James also felt that such an approach led to a total misrepresentation of facts about the history of black people.

Robert L. Hall '69 admitted that the problems faced by the course were basically due to the rush involved in setting it up. Still, Hall said, the Ad Hoc Committee had been left with the understanding that guest lecturers would be permitted to give some of the lectures.

Freidel, however, when asked about guest lecturers, said that there had never been any plans to have outsiders as substitute lecturers. Several black lecturers have been brought in to speak at afternoon sessions.

One student, Edward Sanders '72, feels that what is really needed is a black professor to teach the course. He said Harvard should endow a chair in Afro-American Affairs and give it to a black professor.

Soc Sci 5 was created on short notice last spring after the Ad Hoc Committee negotiated with Dean Ford and convinced him that Harvard needed courses dealing directly with the Afro-American experience. Ford, at that time, also set up a faculty committee, chaired by Henry Rosovsky, professor of Economics, to investigate the possibly of establishing a department or concentration in black studies.