this January 1961 WSB video clip, two students and a professor
debate the desegregation of The
University of Georgia. Specifically, they discuss whether
the state should continue paying qualified black students to attend
universities in other states, or extend them the privilege of
attending a premier institution in their home state of Georgia. The professor in the clip argues that African American students seek to enroll at white institutions in order to improve their economic status through equal opportunities in education. He argues that employers deny jobs to black people because of discrimination and unequal resources. The student in the clip defends the University's policy of outsourcing black students and claims that it is a privilege to be able to attend school out of the state.
Debating matches have a long history at UGA. In February of 1803,
Augustin Clayton, Williams Rutherford, and James Jackson, all junior
students from Franklin College, formed the Demosthenian
Literary Society to develop an oratory tradition at the University.
The Phi Kappa
Literary Society, the University's second debate society, formed
in 1820. In this WSB clip, the student debaters demonstrate the
type of impromptu speeches supported by these societies. Although
it was not integrated in 1961, in January of that year the Demosthenian
Literary Society created a committee to petition for an end to segregation at
the University, so that the school would not be closed.
In 2004, educator and former civil rights activist Jonathan Kozol
published The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration
of Apartheid Schoolin in America. Kozol's research, based
on observations from sixty schools in eleven states, reveals the
inadequacies of many schools comprised mostly of poor or minority
students. This book describes the ineffectiveness of court-ordered
desegregation in the United States. Kozol documented the poor conditions
of these underfunded schools that included a lack of up-to-date
textbooks, sicence laboratories, and extracurricular academic programs.
According to Kozol, some teachers in these schools discouraged creative
thinking, and instead embraced a curriculum aimed at social control.
His study suggests that the de
facto segregation of the country's classrooms diminishes
educational opportunities for minority and poor children.
Resources (click here)
Printable Version (click here)
1. Sometimes students in the minority isolate themselves from
the rest of the school population or find themselves ignored or
excluded by other students. Unfortunately, social alienation can
result in violence, such as in the April
20, 1999, Columbine
High School shootings. What personality types of characteristics
lead students in your school to shun or stigmatize those who do
not fit the social mold? What do you think causes violent responses
to such isolation?
2. Though schools may be integrated, social circles within those
schools may remain segregated. Why do you think this is the case?
Are there any steps that you can think of that could end this segregation?
3. What is an HBCU? Why would a student attend an HBCU?
Take it to
Interview three other students at favorite hang-out spots such
as the lunch room, fast food restaurants, the local mall, a community
bowling alley or movie theater, or city parks. What kinds of issues
do they debate over a meal or in between classes? Be prepared to
discuss differences in the slang they use, the references to movies
and music they make, and the extent to which they discuss politics
and world events. What do your findings say about differences in
social awareness based on race and class?
Writers: Imann Gad, LaToya Howard, James Robinson, Ruthie Taylor,
and Stacie L. Walker in Professor Barbara McCaskill's AFAM/ENGL
3230 (Survey of African American Literature), Spring 2007.
Editor and Researcher: Christina L. Davis, Mary Boyce Hicks, and
Professor Barbara McCaskill
Web Designer: William Weems
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