Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Desegregation at Private Universities in the South

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Private universities in the South desegregated because of money, and national prestige.  Faculty anger concerning segregation and student support of integration brought attention to the issue, but this did not change the mind of the board.  At this time the government is just starting to fund research at private universities.  The military industrial complex is starting in the wake of WWII and the Manhattan Project.  Northern philanthropic groups were less and less likely to fund institutions that supported segregation.  The board of trustees at these institutions acted as anchors slowing down the process of integration, and in the process costing the school national prestige and federal funds.  This exhibit will look at the two leading private universities in the South, and compare the ways in which Vanderbilt and Duke went about the process of integration.  Vanderbilt was a leader in terms of desegregating private education in the South.  Chancellor Harvie Branscomb recognized that he could use integration to increase funding at Vanderbilt, and to increase its national reputation.  Duke was already well known nationally, and it did not need to attract the funds that Vanderbilt needed.  Duke lost much national prominence during this era, and was no longer seen as the leading private university in the south.  As one alumnus put it Duke wanted to be a leader nationally while it held up the values of a region.   These were both private universities, which had graduate programs, located in segregated cities, and they had to deal with the same protests.  This exhibit will look at how the presidents interacted with the boards of trustees during this era, why they integrated, the schools reaction to the non violence movement in their city, and the thoughts and feelings of the first black undergraduate students at these universities. 

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