Black Educator Calls for an Advanced Placement Course in African-American History

Linda S. Lane, deputy superintendent for instruction, assessment, and accountability for the Pittsburgh public schools, has proposed to The College Board that it add an Advanced Placement course in African-American history. Currently The College Board gives Advanced Placement tests in 37 subjects including American history and world history.

Dr. Lane, who is African American, believes that an Advanced Placement course in African-American history would serve to increase black participation in the AP program. While black participation in the AP program has increased dramatically in recent years (see print issue of JBHE No. 55, page 85), in 2006 blacks took only 5.6 percent of all AP examinations. In Pittsburgh, blacks make up at least 35 percent and as much as 99 percent of the students at all of the city’s high schools. But only 17 percent of the students districtwide who took AP courses in 2006 were black.

The College Board states that it has no plans to offer an AP course in African-American history.

Dr. Lane is a graduate of the University of Iowa. She holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Drake University.


“The College Board knows that they have data that is not very positive about diversity of student enrollment in Advanced Placement. We have to look at some things we haven’t done before.”

Linda S. Lane, deputy superintendent for instruction, assessment, and accountability for the Pittsburgh public schools, calling for the establishment of an AP course in African-American history, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8-6-07 (See story above.)


States With the Most African-American College Students

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education show that 2.2 million black students are enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the United States. This data includes all two-year and four-year institutions.

California has the most black students enrolled in college with 185,659. There are 160,007 black students enrolled in higher educational institutions in New York State. Florida ranks third with 155,357 black students. Texas, Georgia, Illinois, and North Carolina each have more than 100,000 black students enrolled in college.

On a percentage basis, blacks make up 12.7 percent of all college students nationwide. In Mississippi, blacks are 39.1 percent of all students enrolled in college, the highest rate in the nation. In Georgia, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia, blacks are more than 30 percent of all students enrolled in college. 

New Jersey has the highest percentage of blacks among all college students of any non-southern or border state.


Study Finds Huge Racial Disparities in the Economic Knowledge of High School Seniors

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education has conducted a National Assessment of Educational Progress survey of the proficiency of high school seniors in the discipline of economics. This benchmark study was conducted by surveying 11,500 twelfth-graders at 590 high schools across the United States. The survey included questions about individual money and resource allocation decisions, the national market economy, and international trade issues.

Overall, 79 percent of students had achieved a level of basic knowledge in the field of economics. Slightly more than 40 percent were deemed proficient in the subject. But there were wide variations by race. Eighty-seven percent of white students had achieved a basic knowledge of economics compared to 57 percent of black high school seniors. More than half of white high school seniors were deemed proficient in economics compared to only 16 percent of blacks.

These differences are alarming considering that the black students are now heading off to college or into the work force with an extreme disadvantage compared to whites in how our economy functions.


Voorhees College Names Acting President

Valdrie N. Walker was appointed acting president of Voorhees College, the historically black educational institution in Denmark, South Carolina. Walker has been serving as executive vice president for academic affairs. The board of trustees placed Voorhees College president Lee Monroe on paid administrative leave until June 2008. Monroe, who has been president of the college since 2001, was convicted in April of this year of sexually harassing a professor at the college. The jury awarded the professor $500,000 in damages.

Walker is a graduate of St. Paul’s College. She holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.


Black Political Scientist at Notre Dame Finds Persisting Racial Shortfall in Elected Officials

Dianne M. Pinderhughes, professor of political science and Africana studies at the University of Notre Dame, is coauthor of a new study appearing in the current issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, a journal published by the American Political Science Association. The study finds that despite huge gains in the number of black elected officials over the past four decades since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, blacks are still underrepresented at almost every level of elective office.

The study found that nonwhites make up 31 percent of the U.S. population but only 12 percent of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Nonwhites are 12 percent of the nation’s state legislators.


Summer Program for Black Students at Predominantly White Hilbert College Seeks to Increase Racial Diversity on Campus

Hilbert College is a 1,100-student educational institution in Hamburg, New York, which was founded by a Franciscan nun. The latest data shows that blacks make up 4 percent of the student body.

The college is seeking to increase the racial diversity of its campus by holding a summer institute for black students. Thirteen black students attended the three-week program this summer. The high school students, who were recruited from local black churches, live on campus and take mathematics and English classes each day to prepare them to take the SAT college admission test. They also receive instruction in study skills and career planning. The students also participate in athletic, cultural, and social events. Each student receives a stipend to offset the loss of earnings from summer employment for their three-week college stay.

The summer program, called From High School to Hilbert College, is funded by a $450,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation.


Memorial Scholarships at Rose State College Honor Black Music Professor

Beginning next spring 10 students at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma, will be awarded Frances White Hughes Memorial Scholarships. Students of any race studying for careers in fine arts, arts management, or as art librarians will be eligible for the $3,000 scholarships.

The new scholarships were established after Frances White Hughes left nearly $550,000 to Rose State College. Hughes, who taught music at both the high school and college level, was the first African American to serve on the Rose State College board of regents. Hughes died in 2006.

Blacks make up 17.6 percent of the 8,200-member student body at Rose State College.


A New Mission for a Historic Building at Savannah State University

It has been more than a decade since the closing of Hill Hall on the campus of Savannah State University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia. The building was built in 1901 by students who were studying blacksmithing. Over the years the building has housed the university library, served as a dormitory, and played host to U.S. President William Howard Taft. During World War I the building served as a barracks for black troops. The building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, was closed in 1996 after it had fallen into disrepair.

Now a $3.2 million grant from the state of Georgia is being used to renovate Hill Hall. When it reopens in 2008, Hill Hall will be the home of the Savannah State admissions office.



Hattie Lamar recently retired from her position as academic dean at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. Lamar has served as an administrator and faculty member of the historically black college for the past 34 years. Dr. Lamar is a graduate of Paine College and did her graduate study at Atlanta University.


G. Nathan Carnes, associate professor of education at the University of South Carolina, received the Outstanding Science Teacher Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Science Teacher Education.

A graduate of Miami University in Ohio, Professor Carnes holds two master’s degrees from Wright State University and an educational doctorate from Miami University.

John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University, received the 2007 Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.



Alabama State University, the historically black educational institution in Montgomery, received a $4.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation.  The grant will be used to establish a nanobiotechnology research center at the university.

• The Cambridge Group is awarding $30,000 grants to four historically black colleges and universities. The grants, which will be in the form of consulting fees, will enable the black colleges to take advantage of the consultants’ expertise in organization structure, technology planning, and operational processes.

The four HBCUs that will receive the grants are:
  • Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas
  • Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro
  • Southern University in Shreveport, Louisiana

A Surge in Black Freshman Enrollments at the University of Virginia

Fifteen years ago, when JBHE began conducting its annual survey of enrollments of black first-year students at the nation’s highest-ranking universities, the University of Virginia placed on top of the rankings in each of the first five years. Over the next several years, black enrollments decreased. But in recent years, the university has shown an increased effort to boost black enrollments.

The University of Virginia reports that the incoming class of 2011 will be the most diverse in the university’s history. More than one third of the first-year students at the university identify themselves either as minority or international students. The previous high, in 2004, was 30 percent.

There will be 367 black freshmen at UVA this fall, the second-highest number in school history and a 33 percent increase from a year ago. Blacks make up 11.2 percent of the entering class. The freshman class at the University of Virginia last fall was 8.4 percent black.


Average Scores on the ACT College Admission Test Rise, But the Average Black Score Declines

A record number of high school seniors in 2007 took the American College Testing Program's ACT college admission test. More than 1.3 million high school seniors nationwide, including more than 152,000 black students, took the ACT exam. The number of black students taking the ACT test has increased by 18 percent in just the past four years.

The ACT test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The average composite score for all students in 2007 was 21.2. This was up one tenth of a point from a year ago. For whites, the mean score in 2007 was 22.1, also up one tenth of a point from 2006. For blacks, the mean score of 17.0 was one tenth point lower than in 2006. Blacks were the only ethnic group to see a decline in their average score on the ACT test in 2007.


Nationwide Survey Shows Black Faculty Are Less Satisfied With Their Jobs Than White Faculty

A new study by researchers at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education has found that black and other minority faculty members in American higher education are less satisfied with their careers than are white faculty members.

The study surveyed 6,773 tenure-track faculty members at 77 four-year colleges and universities. Respondents were asked to rate their experiences by answering a long list of questions on a scale from 1 to 5. A response of 5 meant the respondent strongly agreed with the statement whereas a response of 1 showed strong disagreement with the statement.

Blacks and other minority faculty members showed less agreement with the following statements than their white counterparts:

• My department treats junior faculty fairly.
• I have opportunities to collaborate with senior faculty.
• I fit well in the department.
• I’m satisfied with my department.
• I’m satisfied with my institution.
• I’d accept my current position again.


Training Hospital for Morehouse Medical School Students Needs a Cash Infusion: Fate of the Black Medical School Hangs in the Balance

The Grady Health System operates the largest publicly funded hospital in Georgia. But Grady has lost money every year since the turn of the century and has accumulated large debt. Fulton County, which includes the city of Atlanta, and DeKalb County contribute $100 million annually to subsidize Grady’s operation but the hospital says it needs a cash infusion of about $120 million to remain financially viable.

The issue is of particular importance because Grady, which treats 1 million patients each year, is the main training facility for Morehouse School of Medicine, the historically black medical school in Atlanta. John Maupin, president of the medical school, warns that if Grady were to close, Morehouse School of Medicine might also have to close.


HBCU Launches Institute to Battle Illiteracy in the Mississippi Delta

The historically black University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has launched a new Literacy Institute to increase reading skills of both youths and adults in the predominantly black Mississippi River delta. The new institute will work directly with students in literacy programs as well as assist local literacy organizations. The institute will also develop curriculum and teaching methods to enhance literacy.



Johns Hopkins University to Create Digital Archive of the Baltimore Afro-American Weekly Newspaper

The Afro-American is a weekly newspaper founded in Baltimore in 1892 by John Murphy, a former slave. The company also publishes an edition for Washington, D.C. The newspaper’s archives comprise of 2,005 linear feet of boxed materials.

Now, archivists at Johns Hopkins University will create a digital, searchable archive of the newspaper’s files. An internship program will begin in 2008 in which students can participate in collection, assessment, description, and processing activities. All of the photographs in the newspaper files will be processed first before moving on to written materials.

The archival project was made possible with a $476,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.


18.5%  Percentage of all white K-12 public school students in the United States in 2004 who attended schools where more than one half of the entire student body participated in the federal free-lunch program for low-income families.

62.0%  Percentage of all black K-12 public school students in the United States in 2004 who attended schools where more than one half of the entire student body participated in the federal free-lunch program for low-income families.

source: U.S. Department of Education


The Resuscitation of LeMoyne-Owen College

LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis began classes this past Monday. Earlier this year it looked like the college would have to close its doors. But $4 million in pledges from businesses, religious groups, and the city of Memphis have given the historically black institution new life.

The next major hurdle comes this September when the college will be assessed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. LeMoyne-Owen has been on probationary accreditation status for the past two years, primarily for its shaky financial condition. The accreditation decision will be announced in December.



Gladys Moore was named dean of religious and spiritual life and director of diversity and inclusion at Mount Holyoke College. She was a pastor for the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedric Kenner was appointed director of the multicultural center at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He was the associate director of career education at the university’s Career Development Center.

Kenner hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University and is currently a doctoral candidate in work force development education at the University of Arkansas.

Marcia A. Hogan was elected chair of the St. Clair County Community College board of trustees. Hogan, who has served on the board of the college since 1991, is the first woman and first African American to be named chair. The college, which is in Port Huron, Michigan, has a student body that is 2.5 percent black.

Frank Minnifield, who played in the National Football League for nine years, was appointed to the board of trustees of the University of Louisville. Minnifield, who is a graduate of the university, now owns a home building company in Lexington, Kentucky.

Sallye McKee was named to the new position of vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and community engagement at the University of Colorado. She was the associate to the president for institutional diversity at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

McKee is a graduate of Morris Brown College where she majored in French. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Carmen Cummings Martin was appointed director of alumni affairs at Florida A&M University. Martin, a graduate of Florida A&M, was serving as an aide to Congressman Allen Boyd, who represents the city of Tallahassee and surrounding areas.



Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.