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Chronicle of Higher Education Publishes Carter and Merrill Essay


An essay published in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “What Black Campus Activists Can Learn From the Freedom Summer of 1964” by Professors of Africana Studies Heather Merrill and Donald Carter  compared transformational strategies employed by students in 1964 with those pursued by students today. In the Feb. 1 commentary, the authors noted that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee that led the Mississippi Summer Project was built through patience and compassion.

Carter and Merrill observed that today black students’ “demands for separate safe spaces and free expression of their own culture are understandable, but nonetheless seem to contradict their desire to be included and recognized on their campuses. We believe that for black students at predominantly white institutions to expand this idea of separation is to reinforce the very exclusion they say they feel. …

“Falling back on the comfort of racial isolation, selecting allies on the basis of skin color and ancestry, can be interpreted as backsliding into a world divided across a racial order. To move forward, activists must transcend this form of politics.”

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