Virtual Event: Eddie Cole at Vroman’s BookstoreThe Campus Color Line

Vroman’s Live - Eddie R. Cole and David G. García discuss The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom and Strategies of Segregation

This virtual event will take place on Crowdcast. Please register for FREE ahead of time to save your spot.

Some of America’s most pressing civil rights issues—desegregation, equal educational and employment opportunities, housing discrimination, and free speech—have been closely intertwined with higher education institutions. Although it is commonly known that college students and other activists, as well as politicians, actively participated in the fight for and against civil rights in the middle decades of the twentieth century, historical accounts have not adequately focused on the roles that the nation’s college presidents played in the debates concerning racism. Based on archival research conducted at a range of colleges and universities across the United States, The Campus Color Line sheds light on the important place of college presidents in the struggle for racial parity.

Focusing on the period between 1948 and 1968, Eddie Cole shows how college presidents, during a time of violence and unrest, strategically, yet often silently, initiated and shaped racial policies and practices inside and outside of the educational sphere. With courage and hope, as well as malice and cruelty, college presidents positioned themselves—sometimes precariously—amid conflicting interests and demands. Black college presidents challenged racist policies as their students demonstrated in the streets against segregation, while presidents of major universities lobbied for urban renewal programs that displaced Black communities near campus. Some presidents amended campus speech practices to accommodate white supremacist speakers, even as other academic leaders developed the nation’s first affirmative action programs in higher education.

The Campus Color Line illuminates how the legacy of academic leaders’ actions continues to influence the unfinished struggle for Black freedom and racial equity in education and beyond. (Princeton University Press)

Strategies of Segregation unearths the ideological and structural architecture of enduring racial inequality within and beyond schools in Oxnard, California. In this meticulously researched narrative spanning 1903 to 1974, David G. García excavates an extensive array of archival sources to expose a separate and unequal school system and its purposeful links with racially restrictive housing covenants. He recovers powerful oral accounts of Mexican Americans and African Americans who endured disparate treatment and protested discrimination. His analysis is skillfully woven into a compelling narrative that culminates in an examination of one of the nation’s first desegregation cases filed jointly by Mexican American and Black plaintiffs. This transdisciplinary history advances our understanding of racism and community resistance across time and place. (University of California Press)

Eddie R. Cole, Ph.D., is an associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA. His approach in covering historical material and making connections to current, critical context have garnered respect and praise from academicians as well as intellectuals and activists beyond the academy. He has published and presented on a variety of topics and won various awards including the 2018 Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). He was also named a 2017 Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and was selected as a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellow, one of the most prestigious early-career research awards for scholars working in critical areas of education research.

David Garcia is an Associate Professor at UCLA. His research examines: The interconnectivity of history and education, focusing on local educational histories of Mexican Americans, the pedagogy of Hollywood’s urban school genre and Chicana/o teatro (theater) as public revisionist history. His teaching interests include: Chicana/o educational history, Chicana/o history & historiography, History methods in education, popular culture & media (film & TV), Teatro, satire, Oral history.