Introducing Campus Uprisings

By Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas, Kmt G. Shockley, Ivory A. Toldson

This book was written in an era of activism critically necessitated by nearly four years of a Trump presidency: an era punctuated by the NAACP declaring in unprecedented fashion a state advisory warning Black people against visiting Missouri, the horrific but not surprising scenes in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving no question about the presence and persistence of white supremacy on college campuses and in communities across this republic, and the Chronicle of Higher Education publishing this striking headline: “White Supremacists Are Targeting College Campuses Like Never Before.” The book’s publication came only weeks before four officers in Minnesota were fired for choking a Black man to death after he revealed to them that he was claustrophobic, and the National Football League finally apologized for its own racism after Colin Kaepernick was intentionally excluded from their rosters for kneeling to oppose police brutality.

In recent years, several racist incidents on college campuses have received national and local media attention. For example, racist language and symbols appeared at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, including a note on the door of a student’s on-campus apartment that read “filthy nigger.” At Drake University, a swastika was carved into a campus elevator and the word “nigger” was written on the whiteboard outside a Black student’s dorm room door. These happenings and others are adding to the negative climate on campuses around the country. In that sense, the uprisings we have witnessed on campuses and in the streets are not simply appearing from nowhere. There are historical and present-day contexts that have created the conditions for them. This text reveals these contexts and the current climate; it also shares the real voices of people who are leading the movement to stand up to racial injustice on college campuses. This book is a go-to resource for educators, parents, and leaders to access the expertise of scholars, practitioners, students, and administrators related to campus uprisings.


Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri. Kmt G. Shockley is an associate professor at Howard University in the School of Education. Ivory A. Toldson is president and CEO of Quality Education for Minorities Network and professor of Counseling Psychology at Howard University.

This adapted selection is reprinted by permission of the Publisher. From Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas, et al., eds., Campus Uprisings: How Student Activists and Collegiate Leaders Resist Racism and Create Hope, New York: Teachers College Press. Copyright © 2020 by Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved.

To read more from Campus Uprisings, see "Racial Breakthroughs: Born of Student Protest" and "Preparing for Racial Unrest on Campus."

American Educator, Fall 2020
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To learn more, watch the Campus Uprisings trailer here.

The architects of Campus Uprisings: How Student Activists and Collegiate Leaders Resist Racism and Create Hope are to be applauded for their vision. Editors Douglas, Shockley, and Toldson assembled scholars who have committed research agendas focused on improving the experiences for Black people on college campuses. The chapters creatively and directly address new and long-term challenges, such as discrimination in hiring and admissions policies, the digital nature of student activism, the contemporary role of HBCUs, racist monuments and buildings, Trump-fueled campus climates, campus protests, and sexual assault.

Institutions of higher education should receive this book as a call to action: a call to think carefully about how to include the values and interests of those who were once barred from attending but are now active members. In doing so, a serious examination of the rules by which it is decided who gets to be members, and whether these members will have equal status with existing members, is warranted. In what ways does existing organizational culture ignore or recognize the existence of new members and their differences? What does the climate study say about the experiences and treatment of all members? Lastly, would an analysis of the workforce show that all members have equal access to senior leadership roles, or are opportunities reserved for members with specific characteristics? The thought-provoking chapters in this book lay the groundwork for both institutions and leaders who want to answer the call to action.

Jerlando F. L. Jackson, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and director of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison