Target 2014: Cooperative Extension Centennial

The Cooperative Extension Services were created by Congress in 1914. This is a page for thinking out loud about the upcoming centennial.

Civil Rights at Land Grant Colleges

Wallenstein, Peter. “Civil Rights and the Courts: A Band of Brothers and the Siege Against Segregation in Virginia,” Virginia Social Science Journal, (1997)V.32:99 – 112.

Focus on civil-rights litigation of the 1940s.

Quote: Gregory H. Swanson, a 1948 graduate of Howard Law, applied in 1949 to take classes as a graduate law student at the University of Virginia. The Supreme Court had recently handed down a decision, in Sipuel v. Oklahoma, that severely narrowed states’ ability to maintain segregated law schools; and by June 1950 the Court had ruled against segregation in a follow-up case from Texas, Sweatt v. Painter. It was hard to see how the University of Virginia had a leg to stand on should it choose to turn Swanson down.

When the school nonetheless rejected Swanson, he went into federal court to challenge his exclusion. The firm of Hill, Martin, and Robinson for whom Swanson had worked for a time after his graduation represented him, with Spottswood Robinson arguing the case before a special three judge federal panel. In September 1950, under federal court order, Swanson began classes at the University of Virginia.

Token desegregation at the University of Virginia had begun. And, in light of the court’s ruling, Virginia’s other public law school, at the College of William and Mary, admitted its first black student, Edward A. Travis, the next year. Also in 1951, William and Mary admitted Hulon Willis as a graduate student in physical education. Moreover, since black students could not obtain an undergraduate engineering education at a black school in Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute admitted Irving L. Peddrew III, Charlie L. Yates, Matthew M. Winston, and a few other black students beginning in 1953 and 1954.

Wallenstein points to NAACP strategy shift @1950, from pursuit of “equalization” to “desegregation.”

Doxie A. Wilkerson wrote his 1958 dissertation and a 1960 article in J of Negro Ed on the Virginia schools.

Civil Rights in Cooperative Extension

McCray, Jacqueline. “Challenges to Diversity from an African American Perspective,” Journal of Extension, (1994)V.32.1

Quote: A complete understanding of challenges to Extension diversity from the African-American perspective requires recognition of the very different and difficult social, political, and cultural history that characterizes the presence of people of African decent in this country. This paper presents an historical overview of social and political factors that limit the amalgamation of African Americans into the mainstream of American life, briefly describes traditional response behaviors of African-Americans given this historical background, and identifies current barriers to Extension diversity efforts resulting from the factors.

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