Black Men Are Scarce at Public Universities in Mississippi

It has been nearly a half-century since James Meredith became the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Today blacks make up 13 percent of the undergraduate student body at Ole Miss. This is significant progress, but much work remains to be done. Remember that blacks are 36 percent of the college-age population in Mississippi.

One of the main reasons for the low percentage of black enrollments at Mississippi’s state universities is the paucity of black men. In 2008 there were 8,452 black men enrolled in the public university system in Mississippi, which includes three historically black institutions. In contrast, there were 17,597 black women enrolled at these institutions, more than double the number of black men.

Since 2000 black male enrollments have increased by 15.9 percent. But black women enrollments are up by 27 percent.

The shortfall in black male enrollments is of major importance. A report by the Social Service Research Council released earlier this year found that, in Mississippi, African-American men who dropped out of high school are eight times as likely to be in prison as African-American men who graduate from college.