Black American Higher Education

Term Paper, 2003

16 Pages, Grade: 3,0 (C)


Table of Contents:

1 Introduction

2 A Historical Overview of the Development of Higher Education in the United States – Native American and Black American Higher Education
2.1 An Overview of the Development of the Native Americans
2.2 Indian Curriculum
2.3 An Overview of the Development of the Black American Education in History
2.4 Unusual Difficulties of the Development of Black Higher Education Major Historical Factors Influencing Black Higher Education

3 Carney’s Black Higher Education: A Brief Comparison
3.1 The Period of Prohibition (prior to the Civil War)
3.2 ProhibitionPkjulThe Period of Development (roughly the remainder of the 19th century)
3.3 The Period of Segregation (from Plessy vs. Ferguson 1896 to Brown vs. Board of Education 1954)
3.4 The Period of Desegregation or Integration (beginning with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s)

4 Conclusion

5 Bibliography

1 Introduction

This paper will deal with the development of higher education, in particular, with the development of African and Native American higher education in America. It may be questioned, from developments that speedily followed, whether the mass of blacks did not really desire this advantage of higher education as a sign of freedom, rather than from a wish for knowledge, and covet it because it had formerly been the privilege of their masters, and marked a broad distinction between the races. It was natural that this should be so, when they had been excluded from this privilege by pains and penalties, when in some States it was one of the gravest offenses to teach a negro to read and write. This prohibition was accounted for by the peculiar sort of property that slavery created, which would become insecure if intelligent.

Both, the Native American and the Black American population went through specific phases or periods of development in higher education and so there are questions that help to follow the specific development of each population. The questions are which happenings in the development of Indian education has affected Indian education profoundly and which laws, if there were any, have helped this process of development to integrate the Indian culture into white society? The same questions can be analyzed for the Black American population, how blacks could be integrated and which periods occurred during the development of black education after slavery was abolished? A historical overview of the development of higher education in the United States of the two minorities – of the Native Americans and Black Americans - will be given. </big<smallMajor Historical Factors Influencing Black Higher Education

2 A Historical Overview of the Development of Higher Education in the United States – Native American and Black American Higher Education

2.1 An Overview of the Development of the Native Americans

Issues as equity and equality of educational opportunity, local autonomy, community involvement, curriculum development, and the relationship of cultural values to the way schooling is conducted will be described in general. Schooling as a formal institution for Indians started with missionaries, and teachers in missionary schools were at least as interested in salvation as in education. According to many observers, the regimen of the schools usually included getting Indians to dress, speak, and act like white people (Whiteman, 1986). Church-operated schools, of course, were also common for white people during the early years of the United States. Whereas many of these church schools were replaced in the nineteenth century by locally-funded and locally-controlled public schools, mission schools for American Indian students were largely replaced by schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). These schools were administered directly from the nation's capital. At that time Indians were not U.S. citizens, and they lacked the right to control their own lives and the education of their children (Eder & Reyhner, 1988; Whiteman, 1986).

The Indian Commissioner Thomas J. Morgan wrote in 1889 that “the Indians must conform to ‘the white man’s ways,’ peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must.” (Documents of United States Indian Policy , 107, 1889).

Many Indians began their education at this time in boarding schools, often far from home, where they had their hair cut, where their native clothes were replaced, and where they were often punished for speaking their own languages (Whiteman, 1986). Official government policy encouraged detribalizing Indians partly through education and partly through allotting Indian communal lands (Eder & Reyhner, 1988; Whiteman, 1986). Moreover, many citizens regarded Indians as "Vanishing Americans," and it was commonplace for newspapers to advocate the virtual extermination of American Indians (Murphy & Murphy, 1989). Such policies and attitudes did not reflect the needs of Indian people, as more and more non-Indians began to realize in the early twentieth century (Meriam, 1928). After the First World War Indians received citizenship, and during the New Deal tribes assumed greater responsibility for their own governance, more Indian heritage was taught in BIA schools, and some boarding schools were replaced by local day schools. From a population low of about 237,000 in 1900, the American Indian population grew to 1.5 million in 1980, and increasing numbers of Indian children began to attend public schools. Two-thirds of all Indian children who live on reservations attend public schools (Eder & Reyhner, 1988). After the Second World War, along with Blacks and other minorities, American Indians began actively to promote self-determination and their own civil rights generally. This development has affected Indian education profoundly. The 1972 Indian Education Act funded supplementary programs to help American Indian students both on and off reservations. In so doing, it recognized that 50% of all Indians lived in urban areas and 75% lived off reservations. In 1970 President Nixon in his message to Congress declared a new era of Indian self-determination, and in 1975 Congress passed the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (

2.2 Indian Curriculum

In October 1889, Commissioner Thomas J. Morgan presented the general principles at the Lake Mohonk Conference for a national system of Indian schools, modeled on the public school system of the states. Two points were presented to help the Native Americans to assimilate in white society:

“The work of Indian education should be completely systematized. The camp schools, agency boarding schools, and the great industrial schools should be related to each other so as to form a connected and complete whole. So far as possible there should be a uniform course of study, similar methods of instruction, the same textbooks, and a carefully organized and well-understood system of industrial training”. “Education should seek the disintegration of the tribes, and not their segregation. They should be educated, not as Indians, but as Americans. In short, the public school should do for them what it is so successfully doing for all the other races in this country, assimilate them.” (Documents of United States Indian Policy , 108, 1889).

Locally controlled, BIA-operated, and public schools have all sought to hire more Indian teachers and administrators and to engage in local curriculum development.

The Indian Education Act of 1972, together with federal bilingual programs, which became available to Indian schools in 1978, have helped this process, though some observers believe their supplementary nature sometimes makes it difficult to integrate Indian language and culture into the regular school curriculum.

The development of twenty-five tribal colleges since 1969 represents an exciting development in American higher education. In a little over 30 years, these unique institutions have established a precedent of success that stands in stark contrast to 490 years of failure to provide quality higher education services to American Indians. "One of the key reasons for the tribal colleges' success has been the belief and practice that students can remain Indian, can practice tribal traditions and retain tribal values and also be successful students" (Amiotte and Allen, 1989). The challenge to develop appropriate instructional methods and materials for American Indian students will doubtless continue to occupy educators' attention in the coming years. Schools with American Indian children need more teachers and administrators who understand Indian communities, especially their cultural and linguistic background. Fewer than thirty years, however, have passed since President Nixon endorsed a federal policy of self-determination for American Indians, and much remains to be done for the Native American population.

2.3 An Overview of the Development of the Black American Education in History

Prior to the 1950s and 1960s, black Americans lived a very different history of civil rights and educational opportunity than did white Americans. During the 1950s and 1960s, three changes in law altered fundamentally the role of black Americans and of private black colleges in American society.

The first was the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown versus Board of Education, which directed that public elementary and secondary schools be racially integrated, and which laid the legal foundation for later court rulings directing integration of public colleges and universities in the South. The second major change was passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1964 Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination in public places, such as theaters, restaurants and hotels, illegal. It also required employers to provide equal employment opportunities. Projects involving federal funds could now be cut off if there was evidence of discriminated based on colour, race or national origin. The Civil Rights Act also attempted to deal with the problem of African Americans being denied the vote in the Deep South. The legislation stated that uniform standards must prevail for establishing the right to vote. Schooling to sixth grade constituted legal proof of literacy and the attorney general was given power to initiate legal action in any area where he found a pattern of resistance to the law. The third change was the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Higher Education Act of 1965 was a legislative document that was signed into law on November 8, 1965 to strengthen the educational resources of colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education. President Johnson articulated the need for more higher education opportunities for lower and middle income families, program assistance for small and less developed colleges, additional and improved library resources at higher education institutions, and utilization of college and university resources to help deal with national problems like poverty and community development.


Excerpt out of 16 pages


Black American Higher Education
University of Leipzig  (Institute for American Studies)
American Education in the 19th Century
3,0 (C)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
573 KB
Education, Black Americans, School System, Amerikanische Geschichte, Bildungswesen
Quote paper
M.A. Sandra Kemerle (Author), 2003, Black American Higher Education, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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