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Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fundby Marybeth Gasman
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Although many are familiar with the United Negro College Fund's motto: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," few Americans know about the UNCF's innovative work since its founding in 1945. Gasman (education, U. of Pennsylvania) presents an example of a "horizontal history" focusing on an organization that cuts across the landscape of American higher education. She traces its origins and responses to the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision, the Black consciousness movement, and negative reports about all-Black colleges. Illustrations include promotional materials for the UNCF's fundraising campaign. Appendices list member colleges and officers, and archival and oral history interview sources. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Etched into America's consciousness is the United Negro College Fund's phrase A mind is a terrible thing to waste. This book tells the multifaceted story of the organization's efforts on behalf of black colleges against the backdrop of the cold war and the civil rights movement.
Founded during the post--World War II period as a successor to white philanthropic efforts, the UNCF nevertheless retained vestiges of outside control. In its early years, the organization was restrained in its critique of segregation and reluctant to lodge a challenge against institutional and cultural racism. Through cogent analysis of written and oral histories, archival documents, and the group's outreach and advertising campaigns, historian Marybeth Gasman examines the UNCF's struggle to create an identity apart from white benefactors and to evolve into a vehicle for black empowerment.
The first history of the UNCF, Envisioning Black Colleges draws attention to the significance of black colleges in higher education and the role they played in Americans' struggle for equality.
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