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Title:We too have a history: African American student experiences at Eastern Illinois University 1967-1982
Author(s):Nesbitt, LaTasha
Director of Research:Pak, Yoon K.;
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Anderson, James D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Pak, Yoon K.; Baber, Lorenzo D.; Neville, Helen A.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Blacks at Predominantly White Institutions
African Americans at Traditionally White Institutions
Oral history
Civil Rights
Activism on Campus
Eastern Illinois University
Affirmative Action
Student Leadership
Abstract:Eastern Illinois University, located in Charleston, Illinois is one of the original higher education institutions in Southern Illinois. Beginning as a normal school to train teachers, its mission soon expanded. In 1895, this institution became home to many Illinois residents, near and far. Noted as a teacher training institution with a predominantly white population, in 1967 only 35 Black students were enrolled. However, in just six years that number would increase twelve times the original number to 425. This project attempts to capture students’ experiences during that rapid growth. Similar to college campuses across the nation tenacious students and passionate faculty drove racial change at Eastern. I interviewed 13 participants1, 2 of whom served as professors at some point during 1967-1982, and the others were students. The primary research question I explored is: What were the experiences of African American students at Eastern Illinois University during 1967-1982? Ultimately, this story displayed the resilience students possessed during the 1967-75 period and though confronted with a few instances of resistance, the early period of the 80s proved to be a bit less eventful which was indicative of the neo-conservatism movement, which was reflective across the nation. Similar research has traditionally focused on larger, research-intensive institutions. However, this research impacts the body of knowledge as it explores the experiences of Black students at smaller, regional, teaching institutions. Typically the kind of students that are profiled to attend these institutions typically did not exemplify a level of activism likened to those seen of tier one, larger institutions. Contrarily, this research presents a distinct picture of character, persistence and triumph as students work diligently to change campus life forever with the assistance of key campus figures.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 LaTasha Nesbitt
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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