Radicalizing the Ebony Tower : Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-03-21
  • Publisher: Teachers College Pr
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This path-breaking examination of black colleges in Mississippi during the civil rights and black power movements offers a unique opportunity to understand how institutions are transformed into liberatory agents. Williamson examines how campus constituents negotiated and clashed over local, state, and national pressures against the backdrop of the highly contentious conflict between those determined to protect racial hierarchy and others equally determined to cripple white supremacy. She shows how students challenged the notion of the university as an ivory tower, aloof from community affairs, and documents how these colleges tried to resolve the tension between activism and academics. Through the words and deeds of actual participants, this profoundly moving account also provides firsthand knowledge of how students balanced their pursuit of higher education with campus and societal reform. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Joy Ann Williamson is associate professor of the history of American education at the University of Washington's College of Education. She is the recipient of the Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education's Post-Doctoral Fellowship, campus-wide teaching awards, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education Council on Ethnic Participation's Early Career Award

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Critique of the Literaturep. 1
Deep in the Heart of Dixie: The Mississippi Contextp. 7
Mission of the Bookp. 9
Organization of the Bookp. 12
Training the Talented Tenth: A Brief History of Mississippi's Black Collegesp. 14
Blacks and Whites, Liberals and Conservatives: Private Black Collegesp. 15
Black Constitutents, White Control: Public Black Collegesp. 23
Similarities and Differences Between the Collegesp. 29
Conclusionp. 33
From Bourgeois to Activist: Students and the Radicalization of the College Campusp. 34
The Mississippi Movementp. 35
Democracy by Example: Student Government Associationsp. 38
Appropriating Off-Campus Organizations for the Campus-Based Movement: The NAACPp. 48
The Creation of Radical Campus-Based Organizationsp. 52
Conclusionp. 59
Testing the Boundaries of Acceptable Dissent: Faculty Activism and Academic Freedomp. 62
Understanding Faculty Activismp. 63
Tougaloo College as an Oasis of Freedomp. 64
Battling Reds and Blacks: Academic Freedom in a Southern Contextp. 69
Institutional Autonomy versus State Security: Academic Freedom at Black and White Private Institutionsp. 72
White Supremacy as State Policy: The Particular Vulnerabilities of Public Institutionsp. 76
Conclusionp. 84
"Cancer Colleges": The Battle on Private College Campusesp. 86
Similarities and Differences Between the Collegesp. 87
The Dilemma of Black Philanthropy and Racial Radicalismp. 90
Activism versus Academicsp. 97
Moderating White Supremacyp. 105
Moderating Black Radicalismp. 109
Conclusionp. 112
Foes or Allies: The Battle on Public College Campusesp. 114
The Precarious Position of Public Colleges and Their Studentsp. 115
The College Presidents: Powerful but Pronep. 117
Differences in Activism Between the Collegesp. 119
Repression as Progressp. 120
Autocracy versus Democracyp. 123
Negotiating the Middle Groundp. 126
Conclusionp. 129
Making Black Campuses Black: Activism and Response in the Black Power Erap. 131
The Rise of Black Power: The Movement Turns a Cornerp. 132
Black Power Mississippi Stylep. 134
Synchronized Agitation: Cross-Fertilization Between Movement Centers and Campusesp. 136
From the Streets to the Courts: Expanding Student Rightsp. 143
A Community Divided: What Is a Black College?p. 147
Old Wine in New Bottles: The Racist Countermovement During the Black Power Erap. 153
Conclusionp. 156
Conclusionp. 158
Struggle and Successp. 158
Lessons Learned from the Black College Experiencep. 160
Conclusionp. 166
List of Intervieweesp. 167
Notesp. 169
Indexp. 197
About the Authorp. 214
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