Michael Derege and Samantha Gross interviewed Karen Smith on June 3rd. Karen Smith is a recently retired professor from Washington College, and has called Maryland her home her entire life. Having been born in Washington D.C., and then raised in Kensington and Chevy Chase--two towns in Montgomery County, Maryland, she has seen a lot in this small Eastern state. She describes her time in Chevy Chase and walking by the black section of town, called Ken Gar, and witnessing the growth of the Hispanic population. She remembers going to schools that were integrated in areas that were still segregated as well as a black hosue keeper who acted as a nanny to her and her siblings. Smith also recounts the beginning of her lifelong career with dancing whether it be the structured class time or the Sock Hops she attended in school.
She eventually went to University of Maryland, majoring in Dance and minoring in Spanish before coming to Washington College to teach Dance and Physical Education in the later half of the sixties. She remembers Chestertown as small and quaint with people who were very helpful. She also remembers the Uptown Club and a place called "The Tavern" that professors had meetings. Smith continues to describe the racial atmosphere at the time, citing the slow and small growth of a black student body. Some of her memories include not being able to hold golf classes at the Country Club if she bought either black or Jewish students as well as a Chinese restaurant that met so much resistance it eventually closed its door
Smith also discusses the growth of the dance program, her hopes for the future of the program, and her own plans for what seems to be an active retirement.