Oppression and Resistance in Southern Higher and Adult Education: Mississippi and the Dynamics of Equity and Social Justice

By Kilgo, Cindy Ann | College Student Affairs Journal, Fall 2018 | Go to article overview

Oppression and Resistance in Southern Higher and Adult Education: Mississippi and the Dynamics of Equity and Social Justice


Kilgo, Cindy Ann, College Student Affairs Journal


OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE IN SOUTHERN HIGHER AND ADULT EDUCATION: MISSISSIPPI AND THE DYNAMICS OF EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Kamden K. Strunk, Leslie Ann Locke, and Georgianna L. Martin New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 231 pages $119.99 (hardcover) $89.99 (ebook)

"Thank God for Mississippi." It is a quote that opens Chapter 1 of Strunk, Locke, and Martin's (2017), Oppression and Resistance in Southern Higher and Adult Education: Mississippi and the Dynamics of Equity and Social Justice. It is also a quote that I, having spent half of my childhood in the Mississippi Delta and the other half in rural Georgia, heard often. As someone who has studied and continues to study higher education and student affairs, I am often disappointed that so many texts fail to provide examples or cases involving the southern United States and more specifically the Deep South. Often it is considered not transferable or generalizable to other regions of the U.S., given the unique and storied past of the region. When this book became available, it immediately sparked my interest and after reading and reviewing it, I can say that it certainly did not disappoint. The authors of this text built a compelling case within this opening chapter for why Mississippi, despite usually ranking last in (all) education markers, should in fact be studied.

After the introductory chapter, the book is organized into three sections: (1) Oppression in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education, (2) Resistance in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education, and (3) The Dynamics of Equity and Social Justice in Southern Adult and Higher Education. Each section consists of two to three chapters. Further, each section integrates oppression and resistance related to multiple social identities, including race, sexuality, gender identity, and social class. I outline in my review below each of the three sections, as well as the relevance of this text to student affairs practice.

Oppression in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education

Chapter 2, "Conditions of Oppression in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education: The Legacy of White Supremacy and Injustice," detailed the contemporary segregation present within education systems in Mississippi. This chapter provided data to suggest that schools at all levels in Mississippi are "at least as segregated as they were before Brown v. Board of Education" (p. 33). The authors used publically-available data to illustrate the pervasive nature of educational oppression within the state. The authors also described the oppression faced by low-income students and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students.

Chapter 3, "Tracing the Development and Entrenchment of Oppression in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education," provided the historical side to Chapter 2. In this chapter, the authors described the ways in which Mississippi remained segregated, partially due to the creation of White-flight private K-12 academies in protest of desegregation. The authors also provided data on the disproportionate state funding of public postsecondary institutions.

Chapter 4, "Oppression and Resistance Timeline" was particularly intriguing, as it provided a tangible timeline of oppression and resistance within the south. This timeline functions as a way to transition from oppression within the state to highlighting the resistance efforts, both in the past and present. This timeline has great functionality and benefit to readers of all types, including within curricular or programmatic venues involving undergraduate students.

Resistance in Mississippi Adult and Higher Education

Chapter 5, "Black Resistance" outlined resistance from the antebellum period to today. …

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