Deferred Dreams and Exiled Citizens: Black Graduate Education in the Age of Jim Crow
Crystal Sanders

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Pennsylvania State University

Primary Discipline

History of Education
Deferred Dreams and Exiled Citizens will be the first book-length study of African Americans’ efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow. While many scholars of black education have written about African Americans’ quest for elementary, secondary, and baccalaureate education, black efforts to secure graduate and professional education have been largely overlooked. For most of the twentieth century, southern and border state legislatures did not provide graduate education for African Americans. Rather than create graduate and professional programs at black colleges or desegregate white colleges, state lawmakers appropriated tax dollars to send black citizens out-of-state for graduate training. Missouri began this arrangement in 1921. By 1948, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia had also created Jim Crow scholarship programs and exported black scholars to preserve segregation. Most of these states continued their scholarship programs until the 1960s defying the United States Supreme Court decision in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938) where justices decreed that states had a responsibility to offer white and black citizens in-state education. Usually, the Jim Crow scholarships covered the differential between the cost of pursuing a course of study offered at the state’s white institutions and the cost of pursuing the same program at the out-of-state school that the black student attended. Some states also paid travel expenses. Most students receiving funds studied at institutions in the North, Midwest, or West and many never returned to the South.
About Crystal Sanders
Crystal R. Sanders is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Her research and teaching interests include African American History, Black Women’s History, and the History of Black Education. Sanders received her PhD in History from Northwestern University and received her BA in History and Public Policy from Duke University. She is the author of A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016 as part of the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture. Division F of the American Educational Research Association recognized the book with its 2017 New Scholar Book Award. Sanders’s work, which has been supported by a Spencer Dissertation Fellowship and a Ford Dissertation Fellowship, can also be found in the Journal of Southern History, the North Carolina Historical Review, and the Journal of African American History. She is currently writing a book on black southerners’ efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow.

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