The Tuskegee Student Uprising
Published by: NYU Press
272 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 10 b/w illustrations
- ISBN: 9781479809424
- Published: October 2022
The untold story of a dynamic student movement on one of the nation’s most important historically Black campuses
The Tuskegee Institute, one of the nation’s most important historically Black colleges, is primarily known for its World War II pilot training program, a fateful syphilis experiment, and the work of its founder, Booker T. Washington. In The Tuskegee Student Uprising, Brian Jones explores an important yet understudied aspect of the campus’s history: its radical student activism.
Drawing upon years of archival research and interviews with former students, professors, and administrators, Brian Jones provides an in-depth account of one of the most dynamic student movements in United States history. The book takes the reader through Tuskegee students’ process of transformation and intellectual awakening as they stepped off campus to make unique contributions to southern movements for democracy and civil rights in the 1960s. In 1966, when one of their classmates was murdered by a white man in an off-campus incident, Tuskegee students began organizing under the banner of Black Power and fought for sweeping curricular and administrative reforms on campus. In 1968, hundreds of students took the Board of Trustees hostage and presented them with demands to transform Tuskegee Institute into a “Black University.” This explosive movement was thwarted by the arrival of the Alabama National Guard and the school’s temporary closure, but the students nevertheless claimed an impressive array of victories. Jones retells these and other events in relation to the broader landscape of social movements in those pivotal years, as well as in connection to the long pattern of dissent and protest within the Tuskegee Institute community, stretching back to the 19th century. A compelling work of scholarship, The Tuskegee Student Uprising is a must-read for anyone interested in student activism and the Black freedom movement.
The Tuskegee Student Uprising is a significant addition to the literature on the Black Power Movement, the Black Student Movement, and the histories of student activism. ~Joshua Myers, Howard University
Featuring impressive archival research and interviews with those who were present at the uprising, Jones deftly brings to life an important historical event within the Black Power movement. An inspiring book. ~Stefan M. Bradley, author of Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League
The Tuskegee Student Uprising is a tremendous contribution to our understanding of the history of Black education, the Black Power movement on campus, and the role of students in defining the terms of their education. Until now, historical accounts have too often sidelined students as passive recipients of Tuskegee’s schooling, rather than attending to the vital role they played in contesting and reshaping the nature of their education. As anti-history laws are increasingly being passed in states across the country to limit the teaching of structural racism, the vibrant history revealed in The Tuskegee Student Uprising provides context for longstanding debates over curriculum and illuminates urgent lessons from Black students about how to define education for themselves. ~Jesse Hagopian, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives
This story needs to be told. The complexities and intentions that Jones so eloquently and rigorously exposes are breathtaking. The Tuskegee Student Uprising is a page turner through a long forgotten history. A black history must read. ~Bettina Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
An essential new history of the long history of Black student protest at one of the most well-known HBCUs in the country. By deftly situating the long history of student protest at Tuskegee alongside the nationwide uprisings of the 1960s, Jones has provided a history that expands the boundaries of the Black Freedom Movement. Essential reading for the Black Lives Matter era. ~Robyn Spencer, author of The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland