20th and 21st Century Pathways into Black Educational Philanthropy
Free Public Lecture
111 Barry Street
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Those familiar with American educational history know that philanthropists have routinely shaped the trajectory of millions of students. On the surface, these philanthropists look remarkably similar across the 20th and 21st centuries – rich, white men who’ve made their fortune in business. This pattern of white involvement in educational philanthropy is especially prevalent when it comes to black education.
Historians have written extensively about the small group of white men exerting enormous control over black education following the Civil War.
To the extent that contemporary philanthropists such as Bill Gates have their greatest impact in major city centers, the influence of such men over black communities continues to this day. But how was this pattern established? That is, how did being rich, white, male and insanely wealthy become synonymous with black educational philanthropy?
A sociological approach to this question situates these men as field members. Investigating how this pattern was established then requires an analysis of the pathways and processes that allowed these men to anchor themselves in the field of black educational philanthropy. Studying these patterns and processes across the 20th and 21st centuries illuminates how fields evolve.