Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-z9m8x Total loading time: 0.342 Render date: 2022-09-26T20:52:28.883Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Race, Post-Reconstruction Politics, and the Birth of Federal Support for Black Colleges

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2022

DEONDRA ROSE*
Affiliation:
Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy, USA

Abstract

In 1890, Congress passed the Second Morrill Land-Grant Act, which provided federal resources to support the creation of nineteen Black land-grant colleges. At a historical and political moment when Black Americans faced a violently repressive backlash against what progress they had achieved during Reconstruction, the successful passage and implementation of this legislation was unlikely. How did congressional lawmakers successfully pass the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890, and was the expansion of educational opportunity for African Americans a clearly expressed objective? Using historical analysis of primary sources, this analysis suggests that the 1890 legislation’s investment in Black colleges reflected a politically expedient compromise between northern Radical Republicans who supported greater educational access for Black citizens and Southern Democrats who wished to expand higher educational opportunity in their region while also maintaining the segregated racial order of southern educational institutions.

Type
Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

I thank the anonymous reviewers for the Journal of Policy History for their valuable comments on a previous draft of this manuscript. I also thank Sofia Girvin, Dominique Karesh, and A. C. Keesler for their valuable research assistance and the participants of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the International Public Policy Association and the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association for valuable comments on earlier iterations of the manuscript.

References

NOTES

1. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Fast Facts: Back-to-School Statistics.” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2021), https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts; National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2016), http://nces.ed.gov; Allen, Walter Recharde and Jewell, Joseph O., “A Backward Glance Forward: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” The Review of Higher Education 25, no. 3 (Spring 2002): 241–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 255; Marybeth Gasman, “The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (May 2013), https://repository.upenn.edu/gse_pubs/335.

2. The First Morrill Land-Grant Act overwhelmingly supported white institutions. Only four states used part of their funding under the 1862 Land-Grant policy to support Black land-grant colleges. Under the 1890 legislation, however, five southern states designated existing publicly supported Black colleges as land-grant institutions, and six states established new public colleges for Black students. Six other states designated existing private Black colleges as land-grant institutions. In all, the 17 of the 69 land-grant colleges receiving support from the Morrill Land-Grant Act were Black colleges. See Edward Danforth Eddy Jr., Colleges for Our Land and Time: The Land-Grant Idea in American Education (1956; repr., New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957), 44, 102–03, 257.

3. For analysis of the legacy, effectiveness, and ongoing relevance of HBCUs, see Allen and Jewell, “A Backward Glance Forward, 241–61; Marybeth Gasman, “African American Female Students at Historically Black Colleges: Historical and Contemporary Considerations,” in From Diplomas to Doctorates: The Success of Black Women in Higher Education and Its Implications for Equal Educational Opportunities for All, eds. V. Barbara Bush, Crystal Renee Chambers, and MaryBeth Walpole (Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2009); Cynthia L. Jackson and Eleanor F. Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003); Mikyong Minsun Kim and Clifton F. Conrad, “The Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the Academic Success of African-American Students,” Research in Higher Education 47, no. 4 (March 2006): 399–427.

4. Pierson, Paul, “When Effect Becomes Cause: Policy Feedback and Political Change,” World Politics 4, no. 5 (July 1993): 595628 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5. The use of land grants to fund education predated the Civil War. The Land Ordinance of 1785 included the provision of federal land grants for the establishment of common schools. In the years after, the federal government provided additional grants of land to support education, as well as internal infrastructural improvements, such as road and railroad construction. See Williams, Roger L., The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education: George W. Atherton and the Land-Grant Movement. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991), 35 Google Scholar.

6. For analysis of how this phenomenon operated on the politics of higher education policy development during the mid-twentieth century, see Rose, Deondra, Citizens by Degree: Higher Education Policy and the Changing Gender Dynamics of American Citizenship (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)Google Scholar; Rose, Deondra, “The Public Policy Roots of Women’s Increasing College Degree Attainment: The NDEA of 1958 and the HEA of 1965,” Studies in American Political Development 30, no. 1 (April 2016): 6293 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7. As was the case with many higher educational institutions established during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, Lincoln College and other Black postsecondary institutions did not admit women until the mid-twentieth century. See, for example, Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2.

8. The bulk of the remaining HBCUs were founded during Reconstruction. It was during this period that lawmakers founded Shaw University (1865), Howard University (1867), and other prominent Black colleges. See Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 3–4.

9. While Black colleges were crucial to inducting newly freed slaves into their roles as citizens after Emancipation, it is also important to note that the first Black colleges served free Black Americans who were subject to constant efforts to deny their claims to citizenship during the antebellum era. See Gasman, “African American Female Students at Historically Black Colleges,” 74; Jones, Martha, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017)Google Scholar.

10. Gasman, “African American Female Students at Historically Black Colleges,” 74.

11. Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2–3, 7–8.

12. Hale, Frank W. Jr., How Black Colleges Empower Black Students: Lessons for Higher Education (Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2006), 8Google Scholar.

13. The risk of economic abuse was a particularly powerful reason for Black Americans to advocate for educational opportunity. Planters and others who benefited from Black labor frequently used confusing contracts to take advantage of formerly enslaved workers. See Anderson, James D., The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 18 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14. South Carolina enacted the first antiliteracy law in 1740, and seven of the eleven southern states that joined the Confederacy during the Civil War had passed such laws by 1823. See Tolley, Kim, “Slavery,” in Miseducation: A History of Ignorance-Making in America and Abroad, ed. Angulo, A. J. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 1333 Google Scholar, 13–14; C M. Span, and Sanya, Brenda N., “Education and the African Diaspora,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Education, eds. Rury, John L. and Tamura, Eileen H. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)Google Scholar; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 2.

15. Kim Tolley, “Slavery,” 13–33, 29.

16. Span, Christopher M. and Sanya, Brenda N., “Education and the African Diaspora,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Education, eds. Rury, John L. and Tamura, Eileen H. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 401 Google Scholar.

17. Blassingame, John W., “The Union Army as an Educational Institution for Negroes, 1862-1865,” The Journal of Negro Education 34, no. 2 (Spring 1965): 152–59, 156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18. Blassingame, John W., “The Union Army as an Educational Institution for Negroes, 1862-1865,” The Journal of Negro Education 34, no. 2 (Spring 1965): 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

19. Blassingame, John W., “The Union Army as an Educational Institution for Negroes, 1862-1865,” The Journal of Negro Education 34, no. 2 (Spring 1965): 152–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20. In the years following the Civil War, formerly enslaved people played a central role in the movement for public education in the United States. Their early self-help efforts in establishing literacy programs and creating schools came as a surprise to Northern missionaries and Freedmen’s Bureau representatives who presumed to be the first to engage in this space. These efforts, however, were tested by the overwhelming effect of poverty that made it necessary for Black communities to seek outside support from the Freedmen’s Bureau and benevolent societies. See James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 6–9; see also Eric Foner, Reconstruction Updated Edition: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: Harper & Row, 2014), 97–98.

21. In 1865, the federal government created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands—also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau—to extend medical, social, and educational services to more than four million newly freed African Americans. See Philip Dray, Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008), 46–47.

22. “Negro Education: The Progress Made by the Freedmen since the War,” New York Times, July 7, 1875, 2.

23. Valelly, Richard M., The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

24. LeForge, Judy Bussell, “Alabama’s Colored Conventions and the Exodus Movement, 1871-1879,” The Alabama Review 63, no. 1 (January 2010): 329, 8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25. Lovett, Bobby L., America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities: A Narrative History from the Nineteenth Century into the Twenty-First Century (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2011), 25 Google Scholar.

26. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 19–20.

27. Marszalek, John F., A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow: South Carolina’s George Washington Murray (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006), 4Google Scholar.

28. Blassingame, John W., “The Union Army as an Educational Institution for Negroes, 1862-1865,” The Journal of Negro Education 34, no. 2 (Spring 1965): 154 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

29. Johnson, Kimberley, Reforming Jim Crow: Southern Politics and State in the Age before Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 15 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

30. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 3.

31. Johnson, Reforming Jim Crow, 7.

32. Describing his commitment to supporting the education of farmers across the nation Morrill said, “being myself the son of a hard-handed blacksmith … I could not overlook mechanics in any measure intended to aid the industrial classes in the procurement of an education that might exalt their usefulness.” See Michael D. Parsons, Power and Politics: Federal Higher Education Policy Making in the 1990s (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 29. As Elizabeth Sanders notes, the rise of large-scale agriculture also contributed to farmers’ intense focus on political engagement: “while nineteenth-century industrialization appeared to offer labor a workplace alternative to political action, the commercialization of agriculture made politics all the more urgent for farmers.” See Sanders, Elizabeth, Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State 1877-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 101 Google Scholar.

33. “Justin S. Morrill,” Profile. United States Senate Biographical Directory, accessed September 11, 2018, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Justin_S_Morrill.htm.

34. “Statesmen as Friends: The Most Faithful Chums Often Differ Politically,” Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, SD), February 5, 1890, 4; See also “Conkling and Justin Morrill,” Kansas City Evening Star (Kansas City, MO), February 1, 1881, 2; “Senator Morrill at Grant’s Reception,” New-York Tribune (New York, NY), February 17, 1886, 8; “Senate; Hon. Justin Morrill,” Pawtucket Times (Pawtucket, Rhode Island), December 28, 1898, 4; “Senator Justin Morrill Dead: Venerable Vermont Statesman Passes Away,” The Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital (Topeka, KS), December 30, 1898, 8.

35. Cross, Coy F., Justin Smith Morrill: Father of the Land-Grant Colleges (East Lansing: Michigan University Press, 1999), 1Google Scholar, 11.

36. Morrill, Justin Smith, Archived Papers, Manuscript Division (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1874)Google Scholar.

37. It is important to note that Morrill’s status as the author of the land-grant proposals that bore his name has been a topic of debate. During the early 1850s, higher education reformer and Illinois College professor Jonathan B. Turner drafted a plan for an industrial university, which morphed into a plan for an agricultural college. Central to this plan was the idea that federal support from Congress in the form of land grants could help to expand educational access to the industrial classes of farmers, mechanics, and other laborers. The Second Morrill Act also appeared to reflect the contributions of authors aside from Justin Morrill. Pennsylvania State College President George W. Atherton may have helped to revise—if not draft—the proposals that Morrill presented to Congress in 1873 and 1875. See Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 37–38; 138; Charles I. Abramson, W. Stephen Damron, Michael Dicks, and Peter M. A. Sherwood, “History and Mission,” in Robert J. Sternberg, ed. The Modern Land-Grant University (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2014), 6; Parsons, Power and Politics, 29.

38. Sanders, Roots of Reform, 316; Mary Summers, “Conflicting Visions: Farmers’ Movements and the Making of the United States Department of Agriculture” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1999).

39. Democratic President James Buchanan was a supporter of slavery who supported southern states’ position on slavery and viewed Black Americans as noncitizens. See Lovett, America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities, 25.

40. During one such futile attempt to bring the land-grant college proposal to the floor, Rep. Morrill offered a passionate entreaty to his colleagues in the House. After pointing out the dearth of federal policy devoted to agricultural and mechanical interests and recognizing the efforts that foreign nations had taken to promote the education of their students, he characterized the allocation of public lands for higher education as in line with historical precedent: “While agriculture has been a neglected field of legislation, it does not now call for the exercise of novel constitutional power. Congress has long asserted the right to dispose of the public lands to establish school funds and universities, and no one now questions the soundness of such a policy. This measure is but an extension of the same principle over a wider field.” See Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., 1st Sess. 1692–1698 (1858).

41. Parsons, Power and Politics.

42. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, Pub. L. No. 37-130.

43. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, Pub. L. No. 37-130; see also, Abramson, et al., “History and Mission,” 8.

44. Abramson, et al., “History and Mission,” 9; Morrill, Archived Papers.

45. Edward Danforth Eddy Jr., Colleges for Our Land and Time, 34.

46. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 34.

47. This nod to Justin Morrill’s political acumen may have been an exaggeration. While evidence from the Congressional Globe supports the idea that House deliberations on the “Agricultural Colleges” proposal were surprisingly compact, it also reveals more extensive deliberations in the Senate. See Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 27; Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 33, 99 (1861); Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2769–2770 (1862); Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2275–2279 (1862); Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2328–2329 (1862); Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2440–2443 (1862).

48. Abramson, et al., “History and Mission,” 8; Parsons, Power and Politics, 30.

49. Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2628 (1862).

50. Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 2629 (1862).

51. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 35.

52. Farmers would remain invested in policies that catered to agricultural interests. In addition to their close monitoring of the 1862 land-grant proposal as well as its 1890 follow-up bill, advocates for farming and agriculture supported the 1887 Hatch Act, which gave state land-grant colleges $15,000 each to support the establishment of agricultural experiment stations. In addition to enhancing the relationship between land-grant colleges and farming communities, the policy provided an infusion of federal resources into these institutions. See Sanders, Roots of Reform, 315; Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 3.

53. Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 14; Neyland, Leedell W., Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions and the Development of Agriculture and Home Economics 1890-1990 (Tallahassee: Florida A&M University Foundation, 1990), 3 Google Scholar, 16.

54. Lovett, America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities, 25–26.

55. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 44.

56. Neyland, Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions, 2.

57. Gasman, “African American Female Students at Historically Black Colleges,” 75; Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 16.

58. Jeanita W. Richardson and J. John Harris, “Brown and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): A Paradox of Desegregation Policy,” The Journal of Negro Education 73, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 365–78, 371; see also Brown, M. Christopher and Davis, James Earl, “The Historically Black College as Social Contract, Social Capital and Social Equalizer,” Peabody Journal of Education 76, no. 1 (January 2001): 3149 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 36.

59. Carleton, David, Student’s Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Education (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002), 53 Google Scholar; Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 3.

60. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 40.

61. Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney, America’s Reconstruction: People and Politics after the Civil War (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995), 93. Approximately 50 percent of members serving in the South Carolina state house during the Reconstruction era were Black. See Richard M. Valelly, The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2004), 3. In 1876, 162 African Americans held political office in the United States (52). As Foner and Mahoney note, “[t]he presence of Black officeholders and their white allies made a real difference in Southern life, ensuring that those accused of crimes would be tried before juries of their peers, and enforcing fairness in such prosaic aspects of local government as road repair, tax assessment, and poor relief.” See Foner and Mahoney, America’s Reconstruction, 94–95. The ascent of Black Americans to positions of political power during Reconstruction proved shocking to many white Americans. As John Marszalek notes about white South Carolinians at the time, they “refused to accept the idea of an equal [B]lack participation in politics and life, so they labeled everything the Reconstruction governments did as corrupt.” See Marszalek, A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow, 5.

62. Valelly, The Two Reconstructions, 3.

63. Millington Bergeson-Lockwood, “No Longer Pliant Tools: Urban Politics and Conflicts over African American Partisanship in 1880s Boston, Massachusetts,” Journal of Urban History 44, no. 2 (March 2018): 169–86; Robinson, Stephen R., “Rethinking Black Urban Politics in the 1880s: The Case of William Gaston in Post-Reconstruction Alabama,” The Alabama Review 66, no. 1 (January 2013): 329 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

64. Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988; repr., New York: Harper & Row, 2014), 100; Robinson, Stephen R., “Rethinking Black Urban Politics in the 1880s: The Case of William Gaston in Post-Reconstruction Alabama.” The Alabama Review 66, no. 1 (January 2013): 329 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 4–5.

65. While the historical record suggests that African Americans’ political engagement provided an avenue for advocating for Black political and civil rights, including educational and employment opportunities, evidence does not point to direct lobbying on the part of African American colleges during the Reconstruction period. This may have reflected the tension between the “self-help” approach and the use of state funds, which at times required political concessions. As Stephen Robinson notes in his analysis of the role that William Gaston played in post-Reconstruction Alabama, acquiring state funding sometimes required “compromises,” such as “disengagement with politics in the public sphere.” As a result, some viewed a “self-help” approach characterized by the creation of self-funded, nonsectarian colleges as in line with broader Black political interests. See Joens, David A., “Illinois Colored Conventions of the 1880s,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 110, no. 3–4 (December 2017): 305–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar; LeForge, Judy Bussell, “Alabama’s Colored Conventions and the Exodus Movement, 1871-1879,” The Alabama Review 63, no. 1 (January 2010): 329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

66. Millington Bergeson-Lockwood, “No Longer Pliant Tools,” 182.

67. Millington Bergeson-Lockwood, “No Longer Pliant Tools,” 173; Robinson, “Rethinking Black Urban Politics.”

68. By the late 1870s, many African Americans were questioning their loyalty to the “Party of Lincoln.” The congressional compromise of 1877 that precipitated the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes in exchange for the removal of federal troops from the South and ongoing efforts to undo newly achieved rights of Black Americans throughout the country led many African Americans to question their loyalty to the Republican Party. See Millington Bergeson-Lockwood, “No Longer Pliant Tools,” 170–72.

69. Millington Bergeson-Lockwood, “No Longer Pliant Tools,” 173.

70. Johnson, Reforming Jim Crow, 15.

71. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 40.

72. 2 Cong. Rec. H616 (daily ed. January 13, 1874) (statement of Rep. Samuel Cox).

73. “A Dangerous Tendency,” The New York Times, September 22, 1874, 4.

74. Dray, Capitol Men, 46–47.

75. See, for example, Michael W. Fitzgerald, Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007). In this context, advocating for racial equality often proved dangerous, and some Black leaders took pains to reassure their white colleagues that they had no desire for racial equality. For example, William H. Gray, a freeborn Black delegate to Arkansas’s constitutional convention, reassured his colleagues that he “wanted this a white man’s government” and that he was content to allow them to “do the legislating as they had the intelligence and wealth.” Fitzgerald, Splendid Failure, 86.

76. Williams, Juan and Ashley, Dwayne, I’ll Find a Way or Make One (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 7677 Google ScholarPubMed.

77. Williams and Ashley, I’ll Find a Way or Make One, 77.

78. In South Carolina, for example, although 60 percent of the state’s citizens in 1890 were Black, they cast only 17 percent of votes in 1888—compared with the 50 percent of all votes that they cast in 1876. See Marszalek, A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow, 26.

79. Carleton, Student’s Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws, 54; Cong. Globe, 42nd Cong., 2d Sess. 1177 (1872).

80. Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 6.

81. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 83–84.

82. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 101; 2 Cong. Rec., S4139 (daily ed. May 22, 1874) (statement of Rep. Justin Morrill); Sanders, Roots of Reform, 315; Gelber, Scott, The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest (Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), 26.Google Scholar

83. Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 83; Ross, Earle D., Democracy’s College: The Land-Grant Movement in the Formative Stage (Ames: The Iowa State College Press), 8789.Google Scholar

84. See, e.g., Lovett, America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities, 25–26. The preponderance of Black citizens’ educational advocacy focused on the creation of common schools, which likely signaled an emphasis on providing basic educational infrastructure, as well as ambivalence toward entrusting white lawmakers and administrators with acting in the interests of Black colleges. See Gelber, The University and the People, 57; James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 193.

85. Upchurch, Thomas Adams, Legislating Racism: The Billion Dollar Congress and the Birth of Jim Crow (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky), 47 Google Scholar.

86. Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 141–42.

87. Postel, Charles, Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896 (New York: Ferrer, Straus, and Giroux, 2019), 7980 Google Scholar.

88. Postel, Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896, 308. While local Grange organizations did not explicitly deny membership to African Americans, as Theodore Saloutos notes, the inclusion of Black members “was the exception rather than the rule.” Some local Grange chapters were accused of acting in concert with the Ku Klux Klan, embracing efforts in the areas of wages and labor intended to reverse the progress that Black citizens had made in the wake of Emancipation. See Saloutos, Theodore, “The Grange in the South, 1870-1877,” The Journal of Southern History 19, no. 4 (November 1953): 473–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 477.

89. James S. Ferguson, “The Grange and Farmer Education in Mississippi,” The Journal of Southern History 8, no. 4 (November 1942): 497–512, 500. Interestingly, while Black educational opportunity was not central to the Grange’s advocacy, the organization did support higher education for women, viewing it as important to agricultural interests. See, e.g., James S. Ferguson, “The Grange and Farmer Education in Mississippi,” 504.

90. Gelber, The University and the People, 56–57.

91. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, 23.

92. “African Americans and Education during Reconstruction: The Tolsons’ Chapel Schools,” National Park Service, accessed May 31, 2021, https://www.nps.gov/articles/african-americans-and-education-during-reconstruction-the-tolson-s-chapel-schools.htm.

93. Cong. Globe, 42nd Cong., 3d Sess. 1710 (1873).

94. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 102. The addition of this language to discourse on equality in government support for land-grant colleges likely reflects the central role that discussions of racial equality had during the 42nd Congress. A year prior, the Senate had considered a supplemental civil rights bill and engaged in spirited debate over the incorporation of this same nondiscrimination language. See Cong. Globe, 42nd Cong., 2d Sess. 429–34 (1872).

95. 4 Cong. Rec. S2763 (daily ed. April 26, 1876) (statement of Sen. Justin Morrill).

96. During his remarks on behalf of his land grand college aid proposal, Sen. Justin Morrill highlighted the reciprocal responsibilities of citizenship, casting the provision of educational opportunity as a national duty: “To support the character of our national Government and its honor every citizen willingly stands ready to sacrifice not only property but life itself; and shall it be said for this the Government is to do nothing in return? Are there no reciprocal duties? … The character of a nation clearly does not altogether depend upon its geology, climate, soil, oysters, and terrapins, but very much upon its governmental and educational institutions and upon that growth of manhood which is their ripened product.” See 4 Cong. Rec. S2763 (daily ed. April 26, 1876) (statement of Sen. Justin Morrill).

97. “Letter from Frederick Douglass to Hon. Justin S. Morrill,” (January 1880). Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; see also Cross, Justin Smith Morrill.

98. Chalmers’s fellow Mississippian, Blanche Bruce (R-MS), introduced a similar version of the bill in the Senate at the same time. See 10 Cong. Rec. A14 (daily ed. February 24, 1880 (statement of Rep. James R. Chalmers).

99. See 10 Cong. Rec. A14 (daily ed. February 24, 1880) (statement of Rep. James R. Chalmers).

100. 15 Cong. Rec. S2244 (daily ed. March 25, 1884) (statement of Sen. James George).

101. 15 Cong. Rec. S2244 (daily ed. March 25, 1884) (statement of Sen. Benjamin Harrison).

102. It was the advice of his Senate colleague Henry Blair—the longtime champion of public support for common schools—that drove Morrill’s decision to remove support for public common schools from the Second Morrill Land-Grant proposal in April of 1890. See Carleton, David, Student’s Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Education (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002), 56 Google Scholar.

103. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890, Pub. L. No. 51-841.

104. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890, Pub. L. No. 51-841.

105. 21 Cong. Rec. S6241–6351 (daily ed. June 19–20, 1890).

106. Carleton, Student’s Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws, 57.

107. Scott Gelber, “The Populist Vision for Land-Grant Universities, 1880-1900,” in The Land-Grant Colleges and the Reshaping of American Higher Education, eds. Roger L. Geiger and Nathan M. Sorber (New Bruswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2013), 165–66. However, on the subject of racial equity, it is important to note that while some populists expressed interest in providing women with higher educational opportunities that “could reduce the drudgery of fieldwork and prepare women to work as teachers, telegraph operators, or clerks in case of economic depression or widowhood, populist support for educational egalitarian generally stopped short of supporting educational opportunity for [B]lack Americans.” See Gelber, “The Populist Vision,” 172; Gelber, Scott M., The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), 57 Google Scholar.

108. The differing fates of Morrill’s Land-Grant Bill and the Blair Bill to support a system of public common schools likely reflected intense controversy over the prospect of federal oversight of southern institutions. While the Blair Bill provided for federal government supervision of common schools, the absence of such a provision in the Morrill Bill likely contributed to its success. Moreover, agricultural interests such as the Farmer’s Alliance were adamantly against the Blair Bill, whereas Justin Morrill was able to win the support of farmers in building a coalition to support his land-grant act. See Upchurch, Thomas Adams, Legislating Racism: The Billion Dollar Congress and the Birth of Jim Crow (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky), 47 Google Scholar; Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 142–43.

109. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 101.

110. Williams, The Origins of Federal Support for Higher Education, 145–48.

111. Jackson and Nunn, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 13.

112. Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 102. According to Eddy, this policy “accomplished for [African Americans] of the South what the first act in 1862 had accomplished for the men and women of other races.” Eddy, Colleges for Our Land and Time, 258.

113. It was also the case with the mid-twentieth century higher education policies that were intended to expand access to colleges and universities. Although the federal government offered need-based financial aid to make college affordable, institutional discrimination against women and racial minorities limited higher educational access. As a result, lawmakers followed up on financial aid programs with regulatory policies that would ensure that all students enjoyed access to colleges and universities benefiting from federal funding. See Deondra Rose, Citizens by Degree: Higher Education Policy and the Changing Gender Dynamics of American Citizenship (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021); Deondra Rose, “Higher Education and the Transformation of American Citizenship,” PS: Political Science & Politics 50, no. 2 (April 2017): 403–07.

114. See Skocpol, Theda, “Targeting within Universalism: Politically Viable Policies to Combat Poverty in the United States,” in the Urban Underclass, eds. Jencks, Christopher and Peterson, Paul E. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1991 Google Scholar).

115. Johnson, Reforming Jim Crow, 117–18.

116. Theodore J. Lowi, “American Business, Public Policy, Case-Studies, and Political Theory,” World Politics 16, no. 4 (July 1964): 677–715.

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Race, Post-Reconstruction Politics, and the Birth of Federal Support for Black Colleges
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Race, Post-Reconstruction Politics, and the Birth of Federal Support for Black Colleges
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Race, Post-Reconstruction Politics, and the Birth of Federal Support for Black Colleges
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *