The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom

Princeton Univ. Sept. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780691206745. $35. ED
College presidents must manage huge institutions, keep trustees or regents happy, fight for funds, address the needs of different constituencies, and pursue the mission of their universities. Cole (higher education & organizational change, Univ. of California, Los Angeles [UCLA]) examines the effect college leadership had on the freedom movement between 1948 and 1968. Focusing on the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, Princeton, UCLA, and other schools, he illustrates how these presidents handled integration, free speech, urban renewal, affirmative action, and race relations. Black university presidents such as Martin D. Jenkins of Morgan State College successfully raised funds from white legislators, combated racism, and addressed student demands. Cole examines how the presidents of the University of Mississippi and the University of Alabama integrated their campuses while dealing with segregationist governors. During this period of great change, unrest, and violence, college presidents played a decisive role shaping and enacting policies of racial equity both on campus and in surrounding communities.
VERDICT This extensively researched, well-written examination of racism, integration, and violence in the postsecondary environment is a major contribution to the field of higher education.
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