Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Undermining Racial JusticeHow One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748585

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748585.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 28 June 2022

The Origins of Affirmative Action

The Origins of Affirmative Action

(p.40) Chapter 2 The Origins of Affirmative Action
Undermining Racial Justice

Matthew Johnson

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the origins of affirmative action in the University of Michigan (UM). The pressure that led to the university's first undergraduate affirmative action admissions program came from a federal bureaucrat and the president of the United States, who were both responding to black activism for workplace justice. Yet this pressure never threatened UM with the loss of lucrative federal contracts or potential court cases. UM adopted affirmative action in 1964 because people at the top of the institution wanted the university to change. This environment of weak federal coercion created a perfect recipe for co-optation. After the initial dose of federal pressure, UM officials took control of the purpose and character of affirmative action, creating a program that preserved the university's long-established priorities and values. It is no surprise, then, that between 1964 and 1967, black enrollment rose from only 0.5 to 1.65 percent of the student body. However, given that African Americans constituted more than 10 percent of the state population, affirmative action made a small dent in the racial disparities at UM.

Keywords:   affirmative action, University of Michigan, admissions program, co-optation, black enrollment, African Americans, racial disparities, university officials, black activism, workplace justice

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.