Race and the University: A Memoir

Race and the University: A Memoir

by George Henderson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0806141298

ISBN-13: 9780806141299

Pub. Date: 09/10/2010

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press

In 1967, George Henderson, the son of uneducated Alabama sharecroppers, accepted a full-time professorship at the University of Oklahoma, despite his mentor's warning to avoid the "redneck school in a backward state." Henderson became the university's third African American professor, a hire that seemed to suggest the dissolving of racial divides. However

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Overview

In 1967, George Henderson, the son of uneducated Alabama sharecroppers, accepted a full-time professorship at the University of Oklahoma, despite his mentor's warning to avoid the "redneck school in a backward state." Henderson became the university's third African American professor, a hire that seemed to suggest the dissolving of racial divides. However, when real estate agents in the university town of Norman denied the Henderson family their first three choices of homes, the sociologist and educator realized he still faced some formidable challenges.

In this stirring memoir, Henderson recounts his formative years at the University of Oklahoma, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He describes in graphic detail the obstacles that he and other African Americans faced within the university community, a place of "white privilege, black separatism, and campus-wide indifference to bigotry." As an adviser and mentor to young black students who wanted to do something about these conditions, Henderson found himself at the forefront of collective efforts to improve race relations at the university. Henderson is quick to acknowledge that he and his fellow activists did not abolish all vestiges of racial oppression. But they set in motion a host of institutional changes that continue to this day. In Henderson's words, "we were ordinary people who sometimes did extraordinary things."

Capturing what was perhaps the most tumultuous era in the history of American higher education, Race and the University includes valuable recollections of former student activists who helped transform the University of Oklahoma into one of the nation's most diverse college campuses.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780806141299
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
09/10/2010
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword David W. Levy xi

Preface and Acknowledgments xv

1 The Setting 3

2 Lesson for Rebels 33

3 Creation of the Afro-American Student Union 59

Sterlin Adams Remembers the Beginning of the ASU 72

4 Seeds of a Rebellion 80

5 A Black Declaration and a Response 105

6 Public Fallout and the ASU Push Back 126

Sandra "Sandy" Rouce Remembers OU 143

7 The End of the Beginning 151

8 Too Little, but Not Too Late 175

Ida Elizabeth "Beth" Mack Wilson Reminisces 187

9 Adversaries, Bystanders, and Allies 198

Postcript 217

Notes 229

Bibliography 233

Index 235

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