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Reblog: Meet an Early Multicultural Student Organization: Ohio University’s Los Amigos, 1947-1952

Los Amigos letterhead
By Imani Estrada, Marketing, BA 2022, OhioLINK Luminaries Intern 2020-2021.

Originally published January 18, 2021, on the Ohio University Libraries Digital Initiatives Tumbler, which predated this Mahn blog.

Group of multicultural college students pose for yearbook photo
Los Amigos group portrait. Athena yearbook 1947-1948.
Los Amigos membership roster, October 16, 1947.

The Student Organization: Los Amigos was a minority student organization established here at Ohio University in fall 1947, continuing through 1952. This student organization was primarily composed of African American students. The Los Amigos president at the time, Waldon Torrence, proposed that the first meeting of each month be a business meeting. The rest of their meetings consisted of planning fun and educational events, and hosting fundraisers for their organization. Meetings were held on Saturdays on the 1st and 3rd week of every month.

The student organization devised 11 duties and obligations for each trusted member of the Los Amigos group. The first officers were President Walden Torrence, Vice President Nelson Peck, Secretary Bettye Dobson Wilson, Treasurer Monica Rowe, Social Chairman Araminta Young.

Group of students singing
Bettye Dobson leads caroling at Xmas Party open to the campus. Athens yearbook 1947-1948.

Los Amigos was a unique organization that helped to create other student clubs outside of their organization. Their goal was to be a culturally inclusive student club. They held student discussions on literature and etiquette and their goal was to stress the importance of social integration on campus and in their community. Los Amigos valued not only being a group but a mixed group– “That every colored boy and girl be a member of the Los Amigos club.”


Los Amigos Making History: What is interesting to note is the time period that the Los Amigos student organization was created. This minority club at the time was primarily made up of students of color. During this time period students in the club had begun to report several acts of segregation and discrimination on Ohio University campus. All around the college campus and in the Athens community, minority club Los Amigos members were facing racial discrimination.

Group of multicultural college students pose for yearbook photo
Los Amigos group portrait. Athena yearbook 1948-1949.

Over time Los Amigos became affiliated with a group called the Religious Action League (R.A.L). In the October 9, 1948 minutes Los Amigos votes to send representatives to the R.A.L. coalition. R.A.L would soon work along with Los Amigos representatives on the prejudice in the city.

Los Amigos minutes, October 9, 1948 (detail)
Los Amigos minutes, October 9, 1948 (detail)

November 20, 1948 minutes.
The president then gave a brief report on the coming joint-work with the R.A.L. He asked what action the club should take in regard to the segregation in Athens. Miss Bailey then reported a recent incident at the Ideal Cafe. A waitress refused to serve her. There was a general discussion on action to be taken. The pres. took a vote on whether or not the club should take action if the coalition should fall through. The club voted yes. They will take up where the “coalition” leaves off.

January 8, 1949 minutes.
It was stated that court action will be necessary in the combating of discrimination here in Athens. The president will attempt to eat in some of the restaurants in the meantime. It was unanimously decided that Los Amigos will back the R.A.L. in its fight against racial discrimination. Mr. Vaughters suggested that the townspeople be informed of the action to be taken.

January 22, 1949 minutes.
Next came a brief summation of the progress of the R.A.L. Mr. Broughton reported that this year’s action has been rather fast. Four testing groups have been set up. The deadline is Saturday Jan 29. Twelve restaurants will be tested. 2 neg, 2 Jewish, 2 Christians compose testing groups. First test, Westphalls, Buckeye, and Blackmoores. Mr. Broughton will participate in this one….It is definite that the university will not assist in this — plan. There will definitely court action.

February 26, 1949 minutes.
Only two restaurants refused to serve in the campaign against discrimination. “We Seat 56” and “Home Rest.” The R.A.L. will send out another testing group within the next two weeks. Los Amigos have been asked to visit the restaurants periodically. If service is refused, another test group is sent out to find out why.

Los Amigos minutes, February 26, 1949 (detail)
Los Amigos minutes, February 26, 1949 (detail)


Los Amigos group portrait. Athena yearbook 1949-1950.
Los Amigos group portrait. Athena yearbook 1949-1950.

Final year: 1951-1952. After four years of being an active student organization on the Ohio University campus, the date of April 18, 1952 would be the last that we would hear of Los Amigos. Although their time was shorter as a student organization, the students in the club always worked towards making Ohio University a more inclusive and exciting place.This organization set the stage for many to come that would give students of color a place to be free, learn, and grow in their college years.

  1. Organizational structure and procedures
  2. Constitution
  3. Minutes ledger
  4. Supplementary minutes
  5. Correspondence
  6. Rosters

Hello all, my name is Imani Estrada. I am a junior in the Copeland College of Business where I am earning a Bachelors of Arts in Marketing, and certificate in Real Estate. I am also currently serving in the Army National Guard. I have plans to one day become an United States Officer and run a few of my own businesses. 

I am also the OhioLINK intern for Ohio University Libraries. Over the last few months in the Digital Initiatives unit, I have worked on many of the transcriptions of the Los Amigos records on the FromThePage transcription platform. I had the opportunity to learn about one of Ohio University’s prominent student clubs in the University Archives and was given the opportunity to research and tell the story of Los Amigos. I hope you enjoyed this historical piece on one of Ohio University’s first multicultural student organizations.