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Undermining Racial JusticeHow One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality$
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Matthew Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748585

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748585.001.0001

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Rise of the Black Campus Movement

Rise of the Black Campus Movement

(p.67) Chapter 3 Rise of the Black Campus Movement
Undermining Racial Justice

Matthew Johnson

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the rise of the black campus movement. University of Michigan (UM) leaders were not ready for black campus activism; they took comfort in the fact that black activism was still something unfolding off campus. That all changed in the late 1960s. Black activism that took over buildings and shut down classes threatened university operations. The black campus activists also offered more radical visions of inclusion than federal bureaucrats had. They wanted to create an institution that saw racial justice as the driving force of its mission. A new president led the University of Michigan through these protests. Arriving at the university in January of 1968, Robben Fleming introduced a new managerial strategy to co-opt activism. His efforts worked briefly to stem the tide of black student protests in the late 1960s, but they ultimately failed when Fleming did not provide the types of policies and initiatives that would satisfy activists. By 1970, black student activists organized the most successful student strike in the university's history, calling into question whether UM leaders could retain control of the meaning and character of racial inclusion.

Keywords:   black campus movement, University of Michigan, university leaders, black campus activism, black activism, black campus activists, racial inclusion, racial justice, Robben Fleming, black student protests

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