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A Historical Analysis of the Contributions of the Black Power Movement to Higher Education: 1960-1980 Open Access

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A Historical Analysis of the Contributions of the Black Power Movement to Higher Education: 1960 - 1980 The purpose of this research was to study the link between the Black Power Movement and changes that occurred in higher education between 1960 and 1980. The main research question study was, "What effect did the Black Power Movement have on changes in higher education from 1960 - 1980?" The intent of this historical research is to reconstruct knowledge on the complexity of the African American freedom struggle through the voices of thirteen Black Power activists, who were leaders of Black Power organizations, faculty in Black Studies programs, and students. The study used an interview process to conduct the study. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and a document analysis. The document analysis included primary documents, books, scholarly journals, and organizational websites. The sampling strategy was purposive because of the special knowledge of the participants. The findings were presented within organizations and across organizations. Lewins model of change was used to analyse the catalysts for change and the response of higher educational institutions. There was a consensus among the participants interviewed and the literature reviewed that the Black Power Movement was a student-driven movement that was responsible for the formation of Black student organizations on campuses, particularly Black student unions, establishment of Black studies departments, an increase in African American faculty, and changes in curricula. The researcher discerned five major themes that describe the era, 1) the challenges of first-generation African American students on predominately White campuses, 2) the role of Black student unions in the success of African American students, 3) the lack of representation of Africans and African Americans in college courses, 4) the role of Black studies departments in providing information on Africans and African Americans, and 5) confusion between the accomplishments of the Civil Right Movement and the Black Power Movement. The major findings of the study have implications for higher education institutions in 1) student affairs, 2) adragogy, 3) curricula, and 4) diversity education. Based on the findings, it is recommended that higher education institutions maintain and build on changes made in the past based on the lessons learned from the Black Power Movement.

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