College by Race and Gender Discussion (Dec 1996)

Query From Cheryl Thurber cthurb@ark.ship.edu 04 Dec 1996

I was showing "Eyes on the Prize" to a class the other day (Sit-in section) and a student asked me a question about college attendance by African American females (when they started going to college in larger numbers, and when females increased going). I know at the present rates for females are considerably higher, so much so that there has been discussion of where the young black men are in general. If I'm not mistaken, hasn't the rate of attendance (not necessarily graduation rate) always been higher for African American females than males? Or have there been periods when that has been reversed? Does anyone know, or have a suggestion for finding the answers?

Responses:

>From Nancy Marie Robertson nmr1675@is4.nyu.edu 05 Dec 1996

Although I don't have precise citations, I know that Jeanne Noble and (I believe) Linda Perkins have worked on this topic. Perhaps someone else can point to specific pieces by either of them (or knows where they are). Best.

>From Mary Farmer mfarmer@bgnet.bgsu.edu 05 Dec 1996

There has long since been a tradition of African-American women attending college and if I'm not mistaken, it has tended to be higher than that of African-American men(especially in the years that Booker T. Washington advocated industrial education for black men). Glenda Gilmore discusses issues surrounding black women and college attendance immediately following Reconstruction and in the age of segregation in her Gender and Jim Crow, it might be worth checking out. Hope this helps.

>From Sarah Barnes svbarnes@aol.com 06 Dec 1996

I can provide at least one citation...Both Linda Perkins and Jeanne Noble have essays in John Mack Faragher and Florence Howe, eds., Women and Higher Education in American History.

>From Elizabeth Kent eskent@acsu.buffalo.edu 06 Dec 1996

An out-of-print book titled The Invisible Bar discusses female attorneys and the problems they faced historically. The book concentrates on the US. Several chapters deal with the first women to progress through law school and the first black female attorneys. Little mention is made of other minorities. Also speaks of first attorneys with other degrees and first women law professors. May be useful as background. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll give you complete cite.

>From Hadi Zaki hzaki@nimue.hood.edu 10 Dec 1996

I don't know of any one reference that could give you the information you need. From my own research on Hampton Institute, which was established in 1868 and was always coeducational, women students outnumbered men at least as early as the 1940s. I don't know if the ration was actually reversed at any time, but returning GIs after WWII did swell the ranks of male students at Hampton, especially in the trades. You may wish to look at James D. Anderson's The Education of Blacks in the South (Chapel Hill) for starters. Regards.

>From Maria Elena Raymond 73113.1362@compuserve.com 10 Dec 1996

You might want to look at the diary of Alice Dunbar-Nelson entitled Give Us Each Day, edited by Gloria Hull. She talks about her experiences in college prior to 1940.


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