Racism in Colleges

Topics: Black people, White people, African American Pages: 7 (2722 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Racism in Colleges

Racism has been a steady problem all through time. One of the most troublesome areas of racism is in places of education. Finding a cure for this would be a major step towards ending racism in general. No one has ever thought of a solution yet, and racism will be strong as long as there isn't one.

It all started back when the colonists traded certain goods for slaves. They had never seen a black person before and thought of them as lower human beings because they did all of the colonists' work for them. Since blacks were so low, they were never given a good education.

This lack of education continued throughout the centuries. Even in the 1700's slaves were never taught how to read or write. In the 1800's everyone's feelings about slavery, good or bad, culminated in one big war, the American Civil War. During this period, the slaves really tried to break free from their past stereotypes. A small percentage of them taught themselves to read and write and they began to teach others.

Some blacks even fought in the Civil War. The most educated were selected and several black units were formed. Once the North had defeated the South in the war, the slaves were freed from bondage, however, that did not mean that they would be free from the terrible prejudice that still permeated the country.

Schools sprang up in all black areas but were not given the public funding that they needed and deserved. They were usually only one room and very dirty. They were given the oldest and most worn out books and equipment that were available. There weren't even many teachers who were qualified and were willing to teach at an all black school. Even though education was instituted for African Americans, which was a step in the right direction, it was a very small step and still didn't give blacks the education they deserved.

This treatment prevailed for many years after the Civil War. A new concept, segregation , evolved and was predominant from the late 1800's through the first half of the 1900's. Whites assumed that they were better than black people and didn't want to be around them in anything they did. For example, in buses, whites were given privileged seating in front; but blacks had to sit in the back. Moreover, if there were not enough front seats whites could preempt blacks from their back seats. There were separate restrooms, drinking fountains, stores and, of course, schools.

Segregation remained the same for many years until one day in 1955 a black woman named Rosa Parks sat down in the front of a bus where all of the white people were sitting. When she was told to move to the back of the bus, she refused to budge. This action set off an uproar among blacks who questioned their rights for the first time.

In the 1960's, the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was a militant supporter of segregation. In 1963 two blacks, Vivian Jones and James Hood, sought admission to the traditionally segregated University of Alabama. According to legislation at the time, they had every right to go there; but since the governor was so anti-black and pro segregation, he didn't like it one bit. As the two black students prepared to enter the college, George Wallace stood in the doorway, blocking their way addressing the need for segregation. He refused to move, so the national guard was called in to restore order and admit Jones and Hood to the University of Alabama. This was an important moment in black history because it marked the first time a black person had been admitted into an all white college.

Although laws pertaining to civil rights were enacted that ended segregation, hatred and racism still continued; and it appears to be even stronger now than it ever has been. Today there is no legal segregation in colleges but a recent study revealed that most southern colleges remain segregated.

In this day and age, there are many diverse ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds that populate the same colleges....
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