Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Recommended Reading: Black Women in the Ivory Tower

May 18th, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850 – 1954: An Intellectual History by Stephanie Y. Evans, Ph.D.

Stephanie Evans is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Humanities (gender and cross-cultural American studies) from California State University, Long Beach. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

After reading an interview with the author on InsideHigherEd.com, this book has climbed to the top of my summer reading list. Click on THIS link to read the entire interview, or else check out these highlights. Ironically, in an interview that coincides with Evans’s book on Black women in the academy, some of her most provocative statements were on the educational achievement of African American men:

*With very few exceptions, in all races, at all levels, women are either on par or slightly above men in college enrollment and degrees earned. However, the disparity between the numbers of collegiate black women and men, however, is drastic.

*Tracking black men into prison and away from college shows that black men experience different barriers because of the relationship of gender to their race.

*Although black women dominate black men in the student ranks, black women’s faculty numbers are consistently lower than black men’s. Black women’s college enrollment has been higher than black men’s since the early 20th century, but by 1995, black men had earned 30,000 Ph.D.’s compared to black women’s 20,000. Moreover, this trend of black women holding fewer academic positions, while being relegated to junior ranks, and receiving tenure in lower numbers, is unyielding.

*Ultimately, it is unproductive to say that either black men or black women have it worse — there are definitely gendered aspects of race, both of which need to be addressed. To say that the issue of black men in prison or in college is more or less important than black women’s faculty positions or domestic violence is to fall into the divide-and-conquer trap. We must work to improve all areas.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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