Huge Increase in Black Participation in the AP Program

Over the past two decades there has been a huge increase in the number of black students taking challenging Advanced Placement courses in high school. In 1985 there were only 2,768 black students taking Advanced Placement courses in the United States. At that time blacks made up just one percent of the more than 270,000 AP students. By 1990 black participation in AP programs had more than doubled. That year black students took some 6,800 AP exams.

Over the next five years the number of blacks enrolled in AP courses more than quadrupled. In 1997 blacks took 34,514 AP exams, up more than fivefold from 1990. By 2007 the number of AP exams taken by black students had jumped to 113,590, nearly 17 times as many exams that were taken by black students in 1990. From 2006 to 2007 there was a 20 percent increase in the number of AP examinations taken by black students.


University of Maryland to Examine Its Ties to Slavery

In 2003 Brown University president Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves, formed a commission to examine the university’s ties to slavery. In issuing its report three years later in 2006, the commission stated that the university benefited to a large degree from its association with the institution of slavery and recommended several ways in which the university could make amends.

Now the University of Maryland is examining its history in regards to slavery. But instead of forming a commission, the question of the university’s ties to slavery will be researched by students in a two-semester history course taught by Ira Berlin, one of the nation’s most respected scholars on the slavery era. The university has budgeted $50,000 to fund the students’ research.


Scholarly Research Center Headed by Claude Steele Becomes Part of Stanford University

The heretofore independent Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences has entered into a formal arrangement to become part of Stanford University. Founded in 1954 with funds from the Ford Foundation, the center offers fellowships to about 40 scholars from a wide array of disciplines who come to the center to conduct research or writing projects. Fellows of the center have written more than 1,700 books. Seventeen former fellows have won the Nobel Prize in economics.

The center, which has had offices on land leased from the university, will now be under the financial and administrative management of Stanford. Under the new arrangement the center will have access to the vast resources of the university and will get help from the university’s development office in fundraising and have the university assume some of its operating expenses.

The director of the center is Claude Steele, the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and a professor of psychology at Stanford University.



Early College Enrollments Becoming More Common for Football Players: African-American Players Make Up More Than Half of the Eligible Group

A new trend is emerging at universities that have the nation’s largest football programs. High school seniors who have been recruited to play football and receive athletic scholarships are enrolling at the universities for the spring semester prior to their high school graduation. More than one half of all college football players on athletic scholarships at these large universities are African Americans.

These early enrollments enable the students to become accustomed to college life and to take college-level courses prior to the usual fall start, when they may be preoccupied with football. The universities say that enrolling early helps the students adapt academically and socially to the campus environment.

The real reason these students are enrolling early may be that they can participate in spring football practice, which enables them to learn the football system at the particular university. If they do not enroll early, they are not able to practice with the university team until the summer before they enroll.

According to statistics compiled by USA Today, there were 69 high school seniors who enrolled early in 2007, a 100 percent increase from 2004.


Hampton University Graduate Named to Head the Civil War Museum in the Capital of the Confederacy

The American Civil War Center in Richmond, Virginia, has announced the appointment of Christy S. Coleman as its new president. Coleman is the museum’s first African-American director.

Coleman previously served as president of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hampton University.


Undercover Sting Operation by Pro-Life Students at UCLA Finds That Planned Parenthood Is Prepared to Accept Donations From Racists

A pro-life journal edited by students at the University of California at Los Angeles conducted an undercover sting operation of Planned Parenthood development centers in seven different states. An actor working on behalf of the editors of The Advocate called Planned Parenthood offices in seven states. The actor posed as a racist donor who wanted to provide funds to help “lower the number of black people.”

One tape released by the journal has the actor saying “the less black kids out there, the better.” The Planned Parenthood official told the caller his position was “understandable,” and went on to say she was excited to process his donation. A Planned Parenthood official in Ohio told the racist donor that the organization “will accept the money for whatever reason.”

All seven Planned Parenthood offices contacted by the journal willingly accepted the pledge from the actor posing as a white supremacist. The tapes show that no Planned Parenthood office voiced any objection to the racism expressed by the caller.

The Advocate wants UCLA to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood. The editors of the journal believe that the university should provide more resources for pregnancy counseling rather than steering students to an organization which the editors believe encourages women to have abortions.


Fisk University to End Its Participation in NCAA Intercollegiate Athletics

Fisk University, which has struggled financially in recent years, has announced that it will end its participation in NCAA Division III athletics. Teams that will no longer compete in intercollegiate athletics include men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, soccer, and track and field. Club and intramural sports programs will replace Fisk’s current athletic programs.

The university estimates that eliminating its intercollegiate sports programs will save $500,000 annually.




• Theodore M. Shaw was named professor of professional practice at the Columbia Law School. He was director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Shaw is a graduate of Wesleyan University and holds a law degree from Columbia Law School.

• James M. Douglas was named interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Texas Southern University. Douglas has been on the faculty of the university’s law school since 1981.

Douglas holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Texas Southern University.

• Adom Getachew, a native of Ethiopia who was raised in Arlington, Virginia, was named the student representative to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Getachew is a junior at the university with a double major in politics and African-American studies.

• Dorothy Browne was named director of the Institute for Public Health at North Carolina A&T State University. She was director of the Prevention Sciences Research Center at Morgan State University.

Dr. Browne is a graduate of Bennett College and holds a master’s of social work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in public health from Harvard University.



Kansas State University received a four-year, $400,000 grant from the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation and Koch Industries to promote diversity on campus. The funds will be used in efforts to recruit and retain minority students.

Harris-Stowe State University, the historically black educational institution in St. Louis, Missouri, received a $178,547 from the state’s Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative. The money will be used to offset construction costs at the university’s Children and Parent Education Center.

Princeton University received a $4 million grant from an alumnus to support its jazz program. The funds will provide resources for undergraduate and graduate research in jazz as well as support visiting faculty in Princeton’s department of music and the Center for African-American Studies.

The jazz program at Princeton is under the direction of senior lecturer Anthony D.J. Branker, a musician, conductor, and Princeton graduate.

The Higher Education of the New Governor of New York State

This coming Monday David A. Paterson will assume the governorship of the state of New York upon the resignation of Eliot Spitzer.

Paterson will become the fourth African American to serve as a governor of a state. Also, it is believed that Paterson will be the first person who is legally blind to hold such a high office.

Paterson is a graduate of Columbia University. He holds a law degree from Hofstra University.


“If slaves didn’t build the buildings, they made the bricks that built the buildings.”

Ira Berlin, professor of history at the University of Maryland, discussing a new effort to examine the role of slavery in the university’s history. (See story below.)


Racial Differences in How College Students Spend Their Day

The American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers statistics by race on how college students spend their time. The data shows that, on average, African-American students sleep slightly longer than white college students. Black students work an average of 3 hours each day compared to 2.6 hours per day for white college students.

White students spend 4.6 hours per day participating in sports or leisure activities while black students spend 3.9 hours per day in these activities. White college students also spend more time eating than do black students.



New Study Refutes the Thesis That Blacks Are “Mismatched” When Admitted to the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Law Schools

In a 2004 article in the Stanford Law Review, Richard Sander, a professor at the law school at UCLA, contended that black students were underperforming when compared to their white peers at the nation’s leading law schools. Sander argued that because of affirmative action admissions policies, black students were “mismatched” and destined to fail. Sander maintained that high-ranking law schools were doing black students a disservice by admitting them to schools where they would fail.

As a result, if affirmative action admissions at top law schools were discontinued, according to Sander, the number of blacks in the legal profession would actually increase.

Subsequently, JBHE refuted the Sander thesis in showing that black students at the nation’s leading law schools were graduating at a very high rate and in most cases at rates very similar to their white counterparts.

Now a new paper by Katherine Y. Barnes, an associate professor at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, presents further evidence refuting the Sander thesis. The paper, published in the Northwestern University Law Review, presents a statistical analysis of graduation rates, bar examination passage rates, and job attainment in the legal field by black law school students.

Professor Barnes finds that when students of any race with lower credentials are admitted to top law schools they actually learn more and achieve greater success because they are challenged by higher-performing classmates.

Contrary to Sander’s position that there would be an increase in black lawyers of about 8 percent if affirmative action admissions in law schools were no longer practiced, Barnes’ data shows that ending affirmative action would result in a decrease of 22.6 percent in the number of new black law graduates, a decrease of 13.4 percent in the number of new black lawyers, and a decrease of 23 percent in the number of black law graduates who obtain well-paying positions in the legal field.


Veteran of the Civil Rights Battle Ready to Take It to the Streets to Save Landmark Building at Johnson C. Smith University

Charles Jones was one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. Now nearly 50 years later, he is willing to hit the streets once again in an act of civil disobedience.

Jones, a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, the historically black educational institution in Charlotte, North Carolina, has vowed to stop any attempt to demolish the Davis House near the entrance to campus. Jones told the Charlotte Observer, “I will personally stand in front of any bulldozer attempting to tear down the house.”

The house was built in 1890 by George Davis, the first black faculty member at the university. Davis retired as dean of the faculty in 1920 and later sold the house to the university. Its windows are now boarded up and yellow caution tape seals off the entrance to the building. The university says it has no money to either restore the building or to tear it down.

Jones hopes to appeal to new university president Ronald L. Coker, who takes office this July.


16%  Percentage of all white children in the United States who are being raised in female, single-parent homes.

50%  Percentage of all black children in the United States who are being raised in female, single-parent homes.

source: U.S. Census Bureau


A Gathering of Academic Bigots

The American Renaissance Conference was held recently at the Crowne Plaza hotel near Dulles International Airport in Herndon, Virginia. The conference, sponsored by the New Century Foundation, featured a full slate of white supremacist speakers with academic credentials. Male attendees were required to wear jackets and ties as they heard talks on topics such as “The Heritability of World IQ Differences,” “Understanding the African Mind,” and “Why is There So Much Resistance to Race Realism?”

The featured speaker was J. Philippe Rushton, a psychologist from the University of Western Ontario and president of the Pioneer Fund. Over three quarters of a century the Pioneer Fund has made dozens of grants for research exploring genetic racial differences. Rushton’s research has included studies on the relation of brain and penis size to intelligence.

A small group of protesters demonstrated outside the American Renaissance Conference but police kept them from gaining access to the hotel.



Report Finds That Most Black Colleges Are Not in Compliance With Title IX

Women make up nearly two thirds of all enrollments at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. As a result, it has become very difficult for most of the HBCUs to comply with Title IX of the 1972 Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which stipulates that participation in varsity sports should approximately mirror the gender makeup of a college or university’s student body.

A new report from the College Sports Council finds that 72 of the 74 co-educational HBCUs with interscholastic athletics programs are not in compliance with Title IX. Twenty-nine HBCUs are so far out of line with the proportional requirement that they would receive a grade of “F” from the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Allen University and Morris College are the two schools that meet the proportional requirement.


New Texas Southern University President Looks to End Open Admissions

John Rudley recently became president of Texas Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Houston. In one of his first major decisions, Rudley announced that he wants to end the university’s traditional open admissions system.

In the past all students with a high school diploma or equivalency certificate were eligible for admission. Rudley believes that many students who enrolled at the university were not adequately prepared for college-level work. As a result, the university’s black student graduation rate is a dismally low 14 percent.

Dr. Rudley is currently conducting research on what admissions standards might be required. He has said that a high school grade point average of 2.5 and a score of 820 on the combined mathematics and reading sections of the SAT are standards that might be applied.


In Memoriam

George Marsh Fredrickson (1934-2008)

George M. Fredrickson, Edgar E. Robinson Professor of United States History Emeritus at Stanford University, died of heart failure in late February at his home on the Stanford campus. He was 73 years old.

Professor Fredrickson was one of the nation’s most respected scholars of racism, race relations, slavery, and African-American history. His masterpiece 1981 work, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study of American and South African History, fathered the new field of comparative history, which is widely used as a teaching method in the academic world today. Yale historian David Brion Davis, reviewing the book in The New York Times in 1981, said it was one of the “most brilliant and successful” historical studies ever written. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Professor Fredrickson was born in Bristol, Connecticut, but grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He earned both a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in history at Harvard. He was on the faculty at Harvard and Northwestern University before coming to Stanford in 1984. There he cofounded the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Professor Fredrickson retired from teaching in 2002. Yet he continued to be a prolific writer, contributing frequently to several publications including The New York Review of Books and The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

His latest book, published just last month, is Big Enough to Be Inconsistent: Abraham Lincoln Confronts Slavery and Race.

Gwindelle Wilson Ponder (1927-2008)

Gwindelle W. Ponder, who taught mathematics at Kennedy-King College in Chicago for nearly two decades, has died from abdominal cancer. She was 80 years old.

Ponder grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. Her father was a Baptist minister and her mother, who had a bachelor’s degree, ran a beauty shop. Ponder received a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and a master’s degree in mathematics from Columbia University. She taught in the public schools of Chicago for 16 years before joining the faculty at Kennedy-King College. She later earned a Ph.D. from Heed University.

Helen J. Goodwin  (1912-2008)

Helen J. Goodwin, a retired education professor who taught at Coppin State University in Baltimore, died from Alzheimer’s disease at a health facility in Baltimore. She was 95 years old.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Goodwin graduated from what is now Hampton University. She later earned a master’s degree from New York University and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.

Goodwin joined the faculty at Morgan State University in 1962 and later was hired at Coppin State, where she remained on the faculty for nearly two decades. Her daughter is a state senator in Maryland and her granddaughter sits on the Baltimore City Council.



• Isiah M. Warner, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor of chemistry and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at Louisiana State University, received the 2008 Analytical Chemistry Award in spectrochemical analysis from the American Chemical Society.

Professor Warner is a graduate of Southern University. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington.

• Michael S. Harper, University Professor at Brown University, will receive the 2008 Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America at the organization’s annual ceremony next month. The award is given for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.

Professor Harper holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University and a master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.



Copyright © 2008. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.