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ERIC Number: EJ1158551
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Contextualizing African American Collegians' Experiences of Racial Desegregation in Midwestern Private Colleges, 1945-1965
Stewart, Dafina-Lazarus
American Educational History Journal, v44 n1 p69-87 2017
A group of private liberal arts colleges in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, formed a voluntary association called the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) in 1962 based on their self-perceived shared interests and missions. These institutions included Albion College, Antioch College, Denison University, DePauw University, Earlham College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, and The College of Wooster. Allegheny College, located in western Pennsylvania, joined the association in 1992. Preliminary archival research revealed that many of these institutions had race-blind admissions policies providing access to African American students and other students of color prior to the "Brown" decision in 1954 or the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, yet African American students did not constitute a critical mass of the student body at any of these institutions. This article reports historiographic analysis of three types of archival materials reviewed at each of the thirteen GLCA colleges. The first type were the student yearbooks at twelve of the colleges from 1945 to 1965. In the yearbooks, both images and text were coded and analyzed thematically to reveal patterns pertaining to portrayals of blackness and the extent of the participation and involvement of black students in campus activities. The second type were student publications across the twenty years at all colleges, including the official student newspaper as well as other publications of student religious societies and activist groups. In these publications, the author tracked and analyzed articles for both the frequency and the content of discussion of people and topics related to black students, race, civil rights, and desegregation on campus, in the local community of the college, and in the nation. These articles were also coded and added to the themes developed for the yearbooks. The third type was comprised of administrative and faculty records at each college across the twenty-year period related to the recruitment and admission of black students; institutional policies and practices related to interracial relationships among students; and, administrative records of committees charged to consider the academic and social experiences of black students at the college. These materials were also coded and themed. The codes and themes were revised and refined throughout the process as necessary to account for the nuances raised by each type of data. Institutional response to the realities of desegregation varied across the thirteen colleges, but also within each institution depending on its leadership. Racial integration at the GLCA colleges was enacted in one of three ways: Institutions were either inclusive and affirming, open but ambivalent, or closed and threatening. Across the twenty years included in this study, each of the institutions displayed some elements of at least two if not all three categories in response to the racial integration of their campuses. This contextualist analysis deepens knowledge and understanding of the history of racial inclusion and exclusion in northern private colleges before federally mandated desegregation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio; Michigan; Indiana; Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A