At the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG), teaching of the German language also fell under attack during this time. German language instruction had been offered at the school since its opening in 1892. Both German and French were offered under the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages during that initial year. By 1895, students were required to complete four years of foreign language study in either French, German, or Latin. In 1896, Bertha Lee (one of the first graduates of State Normal) was named head of the department - a position she held until ill health forced her retirement in 1913.
|Cornelian Literary Society, 1914|
On April 2, 1917, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson appeared before Congress to ask for an official declaration of war against Germany. Four days later, with a vote of 82-6, Congress passed a resolution stating:
Whereas, The Imperial German Government has committed repeated acts of war against the people of the United States of America; therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government, which has thus been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared; and that the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial German Government; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.As U.S. involvement in the war progressed, so did anti-German sentiment across Greensboro (and across the United States). In their February 8, 1918 issue, the Greensboro Daily News reports the resignation of Professor Robert L. Roy, a faculty member at Greensboro College. The article notes that "the resignation was the result of a complaint voiced by E.D. Steele of High Point, at the time he withdrew his niece from the student body, giving publicly his reason that the college was employing a German citizen on its faculty."
Fearing that parents might similarly argue against her employment, on February 13, 1918, Reincken sent a letter to college president Julius Foust expressing concern. She wrote, "conditions may make it necessary that I resign my position, for my presence here as a German may be embarrassing. Will you please tell me when the time has come or if it is better not to wait and resign now? It is with a heavy heart that I write this for I love my classes and could not appear before them and feel their mistrust in these times." Foust met with her, and Reincken decided to stay at the college for the time being.
|Greensboro Daily News, March 22, 1918|
Anti-German sentiments continued to grow across Greensboro as well as most of the United States as the war progressed. Next week, we will look in depth at how this affected Christine Reincken and her work at the State Normal.