Black Students in Higher Education: Conditions and Experiences in the 1970s

Black Students in Higher Education: Conditions and Experiences in the 1970s

Black Students in Higher Education: Conditions and Experiences in the 1970s

Black Students in Higher Education: Conditions and Experiences in the 1970s


"This comprehensive volume of 28 essays provides research findings and insights on three issues: black access to higher education; the academic, social, and psychological experiences of blacks in diverse types of higher educational institutions; the retention and completion status of blacks in higher education.... Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above." - Choice


By Charles V. Willie Harvard Graduate School of Education

Gail Thomas has presented a comprehensive analysis of black students in higher education. The book is a well organized look at the past, and a realistic projection into the future. I say realistic because Thomas and her authors talk of the future in terms of the resistances to black educational progress. They appropriately conclude that the attitudes and actions of the majority and the minority will jointly impact upon the question of continuing educational progress for blacks. And they suggest that a conflict model of social change is an appropriate frame of reference.

The facts presented in several chapters indicate the significant educational progress by blacks. But Thomas knows that the price of this progress has been high for members of the minority. In describing earlier attempts to educate black people at the college level, W. E. B. DuBois said that "the opposition to Negro education in the South was at first bitter and showed itself in ashes, insult, and blood" (DuBois, Souls of Black Folk, 1903). Now a new pattern is emerging: Black people are educated in colleges and universities in the West, the North, and in the South, and in predominantly white and predominantly black institutions. It remains to be seen whether this new development in higher education for blacks also will be met with "ashes, insult, and blood." Some interracial confrontations in higher education have been bloody; but most, have not.

Standardized tests are examined, and their function as excluding devices is considered. A strong case for the future of black colleges is made; and ways in which predominantly white colleges can improve their retention rate of minorities are suggested. In viewing higher education as a continuum, this book examines the significant role of two- year colleges as well as that of graduate and professional schools in furthering the education of blacks. The two- year and junior college are not put down as second-best institutions because they accommodate a higher proportion of minorities; and graduate and professional schools are not portrayed as beyond the educational grasp of minorities merely because some tend to score low on standardized admissions tests. The book is enriched because the discussion of these and other important issues is from the perspective of majority and minority scholars. Such a diverse perspective is something of value and may help all Americans to understand . . .

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