Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Impact of "Old-Wave" McCarthyism at Four Private Black Colleges and Universities in Atlanta, Georgia
by Williams, Patricia Coleman, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 195; 10289390
Abstract (Summary)

Decades after the term “McCarthyism” was first coined, it continues to be used to describe those who prey on the fears of Americans to discriminate against others. In the post-world War years, and well into the sixties, it was Communism. Today, it is “terrorism,” and an irrational fear of Muslims. The word is used to describe those who perpetuate unsubstantiated claims and who practice the intimidation tactics employed against those suspected of being members of a targeted group. This resurgence of the term has piqued the interest of scholars, who like me, are studying Cold War or “old wave” McCarthyism and comparing it to the “new wave” of McCarthyism that has emerged since 9-11. Similar to what transpired during “old wave” McCarthyism most research is focused on predominantly White institutions (PWI’s). The historical development of Black colleges and universities reveals how the lack of resources and finances made these schools much more susceptible to pressures of external forces such as racism and McCarthyism. This then raises the question: “What was the impact of McCarthyism at our nation’s Black institutions of higher education?” Except for two well-documented incidents that occurred at Fisk University during the McCarthy Era (see Gilpin and Gasman, 2003; Gasman, 1999; Gilpin, 1997; and Schrecker, 2002, 1994) and my case study (2008) on McCarthyism at Cheyney and Lincoln Universities in Pennsylvania, for the most part, this question has gone unanswered.

With the use of primary and secondary sources this study will begin to address this void in educational historiography by examining the impact of “old wave” McCarthyism at four existing private historically Black institutions in Georgia: Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Clark University/College, and Spelman College. With this study, I hope to expand the existing discourse on McCarthyism by making it more comprehensive, as well as more inclusive.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gasman, Marybeth
Commitee: Gasman, Marybeth, Hartley, J. Matthew, Smith, Rogers
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Education history, Political science, Higher education
Keywords: Civil rights, Communism, HBCUs, McCarthyism, Racism
Publication Number: 10289390
ISBN: 978-0-355-21888-6
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