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Jim McIntosh - Class of 1969
Black Villanova Oral History Project

Jim McIntosh

Class of 1969


Mcintosh.jpg

Jim McIntosh was born and raised in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia.  Holmesburg was originally settled by men and women who were once enslaved and who immigrated to the north as part of the Great Migration. Jim's descendants - James and Cynthia McIntosh - migrated from Virginia. In this interview, Jim discusses how he was profoundly influenced by his mother and father. Jim talks about how they stressed the importance of education. Therefore, Jim recalled, it wasn't a matter of if he was going to college but where.

When Jim was 9 or 10 years ago, he remembers a young man in his neighborhood who was going to Villanova at the time. He had a beautiful Villanova jacket which Jim admired very much.  Jim vividly remembers that even by this young age he knew he was going to Villanova and he knew that he wanted to be an FBI agent.

Throughout his life, Jim's teachers and coaches had a large impact on him. Jim's passion for basketball started to develop in the 5th and 6th grade (he was 5'10" in the 6th grade!) and he recalls two wonderful teachers - Mr. DiAntonio and Mr. Meyers - who particularly inspired him. Jim attended Lincoln High School where he played for legendary basketball coach Dr. Harry Silcox. Silcox saw him in the hallway and told him if he didn't play basketball he was going to flunk him. Nevertheless, Jim went on to have a successful career and garnered the attention of many high profile collegiate programs. Another one of Jim's mentors and role models, George Raveling, helped convince Jim to decide what was already in his heart. He chose to attend Villanova on a basketball scholarship.

Jim enrolled in the College of Commerce and Finance but did not enjoy the courses. He had always loved literature so he decided to switch his major to English. Jim found the academics challenging but he studied hard and eventually learned good study habits which helped him to succeed in the classroom. Jim also found spiritual guidance from the Augustinians and the Augustinian mission of the University.  Jim indicated that the "mission played out very well in my life, God was a part of my education" at Villanova.

In terms of his basketball career, McIntosh was a defensive and rebounding specialist whose skills complemented those of his teammates (Johnny Jones, Howard Porter, and Fran O'Hanlon among others). One of his most memorable games was his last regular season game where Jim scored his career high of 14 points against his good friend Luther Rackley and his Xavier Musketeers. Another vivid memory for McIntosh was a game his senior year against St Bonaventure. The Bonnies and the Wildcats went to the same summer camp each year and McIntosh became friendly with future NBA star Bob Lanier - who ultimately helped McIntosh get his first apartment in Detroit when Jim was sent there by the FBI. McIntosh remembers getting the ball down and making a move ot the basket. Lanier rose up and sent McIntosh's shot into Row D. Lanier just laughed at Jim and said "My God, McIntosh, we worked on that move all summer!"

McIntosh had a profound impact upon Villanova off the hardwood as well. On October 12, 1968, the Villanovan published an article entitled "The Other Villanova." In this article, McIntosh, Joe Francis, Farrel Forman discussed in very frank terms the experiences of being black on a predominantly white campus. McIntosh told the reporter: “the main thing is that the social life HERE is nil.. So, what I'm saying is that the school itself has reached a, de facto segregation, so to speak, a complete separatism… there are two completely different campuses..” He summed up his feelings saying “I never experienced any kind of prejudice or de facto separation before I came to this campus and this is what upset me so much.”  These were courageous statements for a public figure on campus who risked a great deal by speaking so openly. The article touched off a vigorous discussion in the newspaper and on campus and brought awareness to the issues which black students were facing on campus. 

Jim was voted Villanovan of the Year by the Student Government Association in 1969. In covering the honor bestowed upon McIntosh, the Villanovan declared that McIntosh "demonstrated ability and diligence not only in the realm of athletics but student organizations as well." The article cited Jim's involvement in the founding of the Black Student League and for also serving as the vice president of the Pennsylvania Student Educators Association.

Upon graduation Jim had a long and distinguished career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Throughout his life, Jim continued to serve his alma mater, most notably as  a member of the Board of Directors of the Villanova University Alumni Association.

player Jim McIntosh told the reporter: “the main thing is that the social life HERE is nil.. So, what I'm saying is that the school itself has reached a, de facto segregation, so to speak, a complete separatism… there are two completely different campuses..” McIntosh summed up his feelings saying “I never experienced any kind of prejudice or de facto separation before I came to this campus and this is what upset me so much.” [1]


[1] Ibid.

McIntosh on Family Background

In this segment of the interview, McIntosh talks about the how his family came to settle in Holmesburg section of Philadelphia.

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McIntosh on Early Coaching Influences

Jim describes how several men, including his high school coach Harry Silcox, influenced his early life.

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McIntosh on First Impressions of Villanova

In this section of the interview, Jim discusses the influence of his mentor George Raveling and his first impressions of the Villanova campus.

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McIntosh on Mentors at Villanova

Jim McIntosh talks about people who made a difference in his life at Villanova. 

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McIntosh on the Impact of Villanova's Mission

McIntosh discusses the impact that the Augustinian mission had on him as a student and in his role as an FBI officer.

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McIntosh on Segregation in his Neighborhood and at Villanova

In this segment McIntosh compares and contrasts the segregation he experienced within his neighborhood and at Villanova. 

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McIntosh on Social Life on Villanova's Campus

Jim discusses the social life on campus for black students at Villanova in the 1960s. 

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McIntosh on Speaking Out against Injustice

McIntosh discusses the importance of using his stature as a student-athlete to speak out against injustice. In this section, Jim references the article mentioned above where he was interviewed by the Villanovan and spoke about what it was like to be an African American student at Villanova.  

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McIntosh on the Founding of the Black Student League

McIntosh describes the forces behind the founding of the Black Student League in the fall 1968.

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McIntosh on Memorable Games with Rackley and Lanier

In this section of the interview McIntosh describes a couple of memorable games from his senior year against his friends Luther Rackley and Bob Lanier.

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McIntosh on Being a Student-Athlete at Villanova in the 1960s

Jim discusses the challenges he faced as a student-athlete at Villanova.

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McIntosh on Advice to Young Students at Villanova

Jim gives advice to young students, emphasizing the importance of having God in your life. 

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