I am not a black nationalist or black power advocate, but I do raise questions as to whether a college has to be white to be good and to be good enough for everybody . . . I raise a fundamental question at this point. What is wrong with Negro colleges continuing to be Negro colleges? They are going to be just that for a long time to come and perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to remain Negro colleges through eternity. A second fundamental question to be faced in higher education is this: What is wrong with whites going to Negro colleges? 1
Vivian W. Henderson
The 1960s was a transitional period for perceptions and definitions of desegregation in public higher education. The decade mirrored the strategy and priorities of the 1940s when the NAACP's litigation campaign shifted from emphasis on educational opportunity to an attack on segregation itself. With the legal question of access settled in the 1950s, the thrust of legislative and judicial efforts in the 1960s returned to definitions rooted in concepts of educational opportunity. In the late 1940s, the NAACP rejected the improvement of public Negro colleges as a means to enhance educational opportunities for black students. By the late 1960s, desegregation suits sought to protect and preserve the institutional integrity and unique educational role of the public black colleges.
The 1960s produced dramatic changes in the meaning of desegregation itself. At the start of the decade, when state universities in the deep South refused to admit even token numbers of black students, civil rights proponents defined the mandate of the law in the most basic terms: the immediate, personal right of a qualified black student to admission to a particular white state university. The administrative considerations that justified "all deliberate speed" at the public school level were deemed inapplicable in higher education. By the end of the decade, when equal legal access, com
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Publication information: Book title: Lawyers v. Educators:Black Colleges and Desegregation in Public Higher Education. Contributors: Jean L. Preer - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1982. Page number: 157.
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