The Black Revolution on Campus

The Black Revolution on Campus

The Black Revolution on Campus

The Black Revolution on Campus

Synopsis

The Black Revolution on Campus is the definitive account of an extraordinary but forgotten chapter of the black freedom struggle. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Black students organized hundreds of protests that sparked a period of crackdown, negotiation, and reform that profoundly transformed college life. At stake was the very mission of higher education. Black students demanded that public universities serve their communities; that private universities rethink the mission of elite education; and that black colleges embrace self-determination and resist the threat of integration. Most crucially, black students demanded a role in the definition of scholarly knowledge.

Martha Biondi masterfully combines impressive research with a wealth of interviews from participants to tell the story of how students turned the slogan "black power" into a social movement. Vividly demonstrating the critical linkage between the student movement and changes in university culture, Biondi illustrates how victories in establishing Black Studies ultimately produced important intellectual innovations that have had a lasting impact on academic research and university curricula over the past 40 years. This book makes a major contribution to the current debate on Ethnic Studies, access to higher education, and opportunity for all.

Excerpt

“Black young people feel they can change society,” a minister in San Francisco observed in 1969. “Now that’s very important.” Black students want “revolutionary change in the basic institutions in this country,” echoed a young politician. According to students in San Diego, “Racism runs rampant in the educational system, while America, in a pseudohumanitarian stance, proudly proclaims that it is the key to equal opportunity for all.” “This is the hypocrisy,” they declared, that “our generation must now destroy.” This widespread feeling of power and purpose among Black college students, combined with a sense of urgency and context of crisis, produced an extraordinary chapter in the modern Black freedom struggle. Black students organized protests on nearly two hundred college campuses across the United States in 1968 and 1969, and continued to a lesser extent into the early 1970s. This dramatic explosion of militant activism set in motion a period of conflict, crackdown, negotiation, and reform that profoundly transformed college life. At stake was the very mission of higher education. Who should be permitted entry into universities and colleges? What constituted merit? Who should be the future leaders of the nation in this postsegregation era, and how should this group be determined? What should be taught and who should teach it? Perhaps most controversially, should students have a hand in faculty selection or governance? Moreover, what would happen to public Black colleges in this era of . . .

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