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CornellA History, 1940-2015$
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Glenn C. Altschuler and Isaac Kramnick

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801444258

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801444258.001.0001

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Race at Cornell

Race at Cornell

(p.155) 5 Race at Cornell

Glenn C. Altschuler

Isaac Kramnick

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the civil rights era at Cornell University, with particular emphasis on the issue of race. The civil rights era at Cornell began in April 1961, when Martin Luther King Jr. urged white Cornell students to join the “freedom riders” that summer at sit-ins at segregated facilities in Mississippi. A month after King's visit, a substantial number of Cornell students joined forces with students from Ithaca College and Ithaca High School to picket the Greyhound Bus terminal, demanding that the company desegregate its facilities in the South. Cornell's new president, James Perkins, believed that the school should involve itself in the civil rights struggle. This chapter discusses the ways Cornell showed its concern with race and addressed the issue of racism, such as increasing the number of Afro-American graduate students. It considers the racial tension at Cornell and how James Turner, director of the Afro-American Studies Center and an associate professor of Afro-American studies, helped usher in a new era of racial politics at the university.

Keywords:   civil rights era, Cornell University, race, students, James Perkins, racism, racial tension, James Turner, racial politics, civil rights

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