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“Education for Racial Understanding” and the Meanings of Integration in Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education

“Education for Racial Understanding” and the Meanings of Integration in Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education

Chapter:
(p.132) Five “Education for Racial Understanding” and the Meanings of Integration in Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education
Source:
From Power to Prejudice
Author(s):
Leah N. Gordon
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226238586.003.0006

Chapter Five traces debate over the educational race issue at Howard University’s Journal of Negro Education (JNE), which educationalist Charles H. Thompson edited from the 1930s-early 1960s. The Depression-era interracial left that contributed to the JNE attributedracial conflict primarily to economic competition and inadequate funds for the problems black students faced under segregation. presenting desegregation as a tool for redistributing educational resources. Contrastingly, the popularity of anti-prejudice education during WWII led JNE authors to focus on the psychology of prejudice and “education for racial understanding” in the mid 1940s. The NAACP’s switch to an “immaterial harm” strategy against Plessey v. Ferguson in 1950 subsequently ensured that calls for educational equality fell out of JNE debate. Systemic and relational theories of the race issue were silenced partially at the JNE. In the early 1950s JNE economists, sociologists, and political scientists increasingly used the malleable language of segregation to expose structural sources of racial oppression without challenging liberal capitalism. Chapters Four and Five highlight the fate of postwar social scientific interracial left, the endurance of theoretical alternatives to racial individualism, and the dilemmas of scale scholar-activists who understood the race issue in terms of oppression and exploitation negotiated in the postwar decades.

Keywords:   anti-prejudice education, Brown v. Board of Education, Charles H. Thompson, desegregation, Howard University, interracial left, Journal of Negro Education

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