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Submitted to Advantages of Diversity in Higher Education

By Sakui Malakpa, Ph.D.
(This is Part 2 of a 2-part series)

History shows that people of diverse backgrounds and races built this nation, and research shows that institutions of higher education are built best by a diverse faculty and leadership. However, as discussed in part 1 of this series, ideologies of diversity are used to support and justify policies and practices aimed at reducing or totally preventing racial diversity in schools and institutions of higher education.  This is not to say individual faculty and administrators downplay the advantages of diversity purposefully; rather, it is to say that awareness of the ideologies at work can help leaders change practices and maximize the advantages of diversity in higher education.

The following is far from an exhaustive list of advantages of diversity in higher education and other sectors, but is offered up as a starting point for further discussion:

Sakui Malakpa, Ph.D.


1.     Estimates indicate that before 2050, racial and ethnic minorities will be in the majority in the United States. It therefore behooves universities to provide diverse role models for an increasingly diverse population (Crichlow, 2017).

2.      Diversity is good for all students. They will be much better prepared to face a multicultural world when exposed to diverse individuals and perspectives in the classroom (Paloma, 2014, Cited in Crichlow, 2017).

3.      There are multiple benefits that accrue from increasing number of professors of color. Among other reasons, such faculty members play vital roles in the enrollment, retention, achievement, and graduation of students of color. Equally, it includes "the necessity for the full and unfettered participation in American society, by all of its members, if this nation is to survive economically, socially, and spiritually.” (Daufin, 2001).

4.       It has been reported that the most persistent and statistically significant predictor of enrollment and graduation of Black graduate students is the presence of Black faculty.

The obvious implications are that an increase in the presence of Black faculty is critical, but unless barriers are removed, conditions improved, and concerted actions taken, the production of Black faculty will continue to worsen (Daufin, 2001).

5.     The presence of Black academicians involved in research and development is important for a number of reasons, but four critical reasons are as follows: (a) to advance scholarship in general, as well as to focus research on minorities and the disadvantaged; (b) to provide necessary support for Black and other minority colleagues; (c) to increase the number of Black scholars in the field; and (d) through research and development efforts, to have a significant effect on policy and programs that may enhance students' educational attainment and academic development (Daufin, 2001).

6.      Research has pointed out the essential roles of Black faculty. Among others, it is pointed out that such faculty value service-related activities (e.g., mentoring students). They also are instrumental in graduating doctoral students of color (Parsons et al, 2018).

7.      Advantages of African-American faculty at predominantly White institutions include the importance of African-American faculty in adding diversity to the teaching faculty; the value of teaching courses from multiple perspectives; the need to conduct research in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner; and, the importance of serving as role models, mentors, and advocates for African-American students (Phelps, 1995)

8.      The presence of Black faculty on campuses is inextricably linked to the recruitment, enrollment, persistence, retention, and graduation of Black students. Black faculty serve as role-models and mentors, thereby helping to insure the successful matriculation of Black students. Unfortunately, Black professors are more likely at higher risk for non-success in the tenure and promotion process, in part, because of institutional racism and role expectations demanded in many white colleges and universities (Spigner, 1990).

9.      The recruitment and retention of faculty members of color in higher education is paramount to the future of our nation’s colleges and universities (Stanley, 2007).

10.   The integration of diverse people into K-12 schools, the workplace, and higher education helps address some of the history and legacy of racism. Integration, however, is not limited to the redress of past and present ills. Inclusion benefits all students. Diversity will help American citizens be prepared to compete in the multicultural settings of the future (Garrison-Wade et al, 2012).

11.   The academy often fails to value the diversity of faculty of color but the presence of diverse faculty provides added value to institutions of higher education. Faculty of color help promote the success of students of color in higher education by providing much needed role models who can help encourage loftier career goals and improved academic performance. In addition, faculty of color offer diverse perspectives to the academy’s knowledge base and research focus (Garrison-Wade et al, 2012).

 Over the past decade, educational researchers including those cited here have noted the positive influences that African-American professors have on African-American students in PWIs, as well as the positive social and academic effects that having a diverse faculty has on all students. Despite these positive effects and the fact that about 13 percent of the US population is African American (United States Census Bureau, 2013), in 2011, African-American faculty comprised less than six percent of fulltime faculty members in US higher education institutions (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). Moreover, African-American female professors have been underrepresented more in PWIs than African-American male professors (Jones et al, 2015).  Research indicates that retention rates are dismal because of issues of isolation, marginalization, non-promotion, among other reasons. If we are to take on white supremacy in higher education in a meaningful way, we need to take seriously these advantages of diversity and enact policies and practices to bring them to fulfillment.


Burke, M. A., Smith, C. W., & Mayorga-Gallo, S. (2017). The new principle-policy gap: How diversity ideology subverts diversity initiatives. Sociological Perspectives, 60(5), 889-911.

Crichlow, V. J. (2017). The solitary criminologist: Constructing a narrative of black identity and alienation in the academy. Race and Justice, 7(2), 179-195.

Daufin, E. K. (2001). Minority faculty job experience, expectations, and satisfaction. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 56(1), 18-30.

Garrison-Wade, D. F., Diggs, G. A., Estrada, D., & Galindo, R. (2012). Lift every voice and sing: Faculty of color face the challenges of the tenure track. The Urban Review, 44(1), 90-112.

Jones, B., Hwang, E., & Bustamante, R. M. (2015). African American female professors’ strategies for successful attainment of tenure and promotion at predominately White institutions: It can happen. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 10(2), 133-151.

Murphy, R. (1988). Social closure: The theory of monopolization and exclusion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Parsons, E. R. C., Bulls, D. L., Freeman, D. B., Butler, M. B. & Atwater, M. M. (2018). General experiences + race + racism = work lives of Black faculty in postsecondary science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 13(2), 371-394.

Phelps, R. E. (1995). What's in a number?: Implications for African American female faculty at predominantly White colleges and universities. Innovative Higher Education, 19(4), 255-268.

Spigner, C. (1990). Health, race, and academia in America: Survival of the fittest? International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 11(1), 63-78.

Stanley, C. A. (2006). Coloring the academic landscape: Faculty of color breaking the silence in predominantly White colleges and universities. American Educational Research Journal, 43(4), 701-736.


Segregation in Toledo Schools: The 20th Century
By Lynne Hamer, Ph.D.
Part 2 of 2

Whereas Toledo schools entered the 20th century officially desegregated (see part 1 of this article), de facto segregation and opposition to segregation continued throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Historians who have studied segregation in Toledo, namely Williams (1977) and Musteric (1998) point to segregated housing patterns as well as actions by the Board of Education of  Toledo Public Schools as the primary reasons segregation continued, and  archival documents from TLCPL’s local history collection support their observations.  Knowing how segregation has been perpetuated in the past, perhaps on purpose and sometime simply out of habit, can help us in the present to understand the effects of that segregated schooling on our schools and community today.

Throughout most of the 19th century, school attendance boundaries were based on neighborhood boundaries—and still are, though the rise in charter and private schooling has changed that to some extent. Musteric (1998) documents that in 1890, 75 percent of Toledo’s Black population lived in four of eight wards; in other wards, Blacks were “residentially concentrated on the fringes of white neighborhoods” (Musteric, p. 9). 

Purposeful creation of communities and neighborhoods within Toledo’s city limits enhanced segregation: As documented in the local archives and numerous local histories, in 1915, John Willys led establishment of Village of Ottawa Hills within Toledo city limits, and though it was not a separate municipality, Westmoreland neighborhood was platted in 1918. Musteric documented, “In 1917, efforts by blacks to move to the Bulgarian and Birmingham neighborhoods of East Toledo were met with threats and incidents. Two years later, 146 East Toledoans filed a restrictive covenant agreement with county officials, even though the Supreme Court had outlawed such agreements.” Musteric concluded, “Toledoans were able to limit their overt racial hostility, so long as their black neighbors did not move outside of ‘black’ areas; when this was attempted, white Toledoans erupted with open violence” (1998, p. 12).

White violence, including a particularly vicious attack on a Black family in East Toledo (Musteric, 1998), or threats of violence maintained strict segregation of housing through the 1920s, and segregation of schooling resulted.  The Board of Education also acted to engineer segregation. Musteric (1998) told how, “in 1920 the NAACP accused the TPS Superintendent William B. Gitteau of ordering segregation of blacks in certain public schools.  At a school board meeting, NAACP officials charged that Superintendent Gitteau had ordered the segregation of blacks in the Industrial Heights School. According to the allegations, all black students in the school had been placed ‘under the charge of’ Miss Duffy, a black teacher. Superintendent Gittaeu denied the charges and said that it was the policy of the schools to ‘place all backward pupils under one teacher.’ Members of the Board of Education supported this contention and Board president W. C. Carr added that board was not aware of ‘any segregation other than this’” (p. 13). 

With the Great Migration in the 1930s, Toledo’s black population grew and housing available for Black families became scarcer and poorer in quality.  Musteric describes “a distinct ghetto of 11, 000 blacks existed close to the downtown central business district” (p. 10) as a result in part of restrictive covenant agreements and in part simply a housing shortage and poor-quality housing.  Having migrated for railroad work, some Black families ended up living in boxcars on railroad sidings.  The US Congress funded low income housing, officially segregated with the designation of  “Negro houses” and “white houses”; in Toledo Black families were mostly “in the Pinewood area, south of downtown Toledo” (Musteric, p. 14). 

The situation was exacerbated by lack of employment opportunities and brutal segregation tactics when employment was available. Musteric reports that “in industrial work, blacks accounted for only two percent of the total work force. Of those Blacks employed, all were in semi-skilled or cleaning/janitorial positions” while there were no active Black firemen and only three or four Black policemen employed. By 1937, After four years of New Deal, because of blatent and unapologetic discrimination, Blacks were unemployed at 33 percent while whites were unemployed at only 10 percent (Musteric, p. 15).

Parallel to segregation and discrimination in housing and employment, the Toledo Board of Education also practiced segregation, though always with an excuse that what looked like racial segregation was actually due to some other need.  In 1937, TPS Superintendent E.L. Bowsher was charged with segregating Black students by transferring Black students from Washington Elementary to Gunckel Elementary; he said that the transfer was due to Washington school being overcrowded and Board backed this as reason for decision. 

However, in 1938, two schools were cited for overcrowding: Robinson and Gunckel.  This seemed to draw Bowsher’s 1937 stated intentions to alleviate crowding into question, but the transfers stood (Musteric, 1998).  During this time, Black teachers continued to be assigned to Black schools, creating a segregated teaching force and ensuring that white children were never under the authority of Black adults.  It was not until 1944, when Emory Leverette was named assistant principal of Gunckel, by then identified as the Black school, that TPS had any Black administrators: Leverette was the first in TPS (Blade, 1998).

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled In Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that “separate is inherently unequal” and proclaimed state-sanctioned segregation of public schools violates 14th Amendment. Some Toledo schools were already integrated, with the population of Scott High School being approximately 50 percent Black ad 50 percent White. Musteric reports that “when Scott High School crowned its first black homecoming queen…, whites burned her in effigy” (p. 24).  The New York Times picked up the story as nationally significant (see photo).  (13 years later, when “Toledo University” crowned its first Black homecoming queen, she was presented with wilted flowers.)  

Washington Township, which had been incorporated in 1840 but had always been part of the Toledo Public Schools, created their own Washington Local Schools, thus creating a nearly entirely white student body surrounded by an increasingly diverse Toledo public schools (Messina, 2004).

The 1960s saw passage of the US Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and found Toledo experiencing suburbanization, or white flight, leading to a more profound pattern of racial segregation. In response to the changes at the national scene, white “violence broke out in sections of the city of Toledo. Looting was widespread and several cases of arson.”

In the 1960s, TPS changed from Gunckel being “the” Black elementary school to having several predominantly black schools: Washington, Pickett, Lincoln, Warren, Robinson, King, Stewart, and Fulton.  While in the spirit of the time a school board could have worked on creating integrated schools, Musteric (1998) observes, “The Toledo Board of Education did not deliberately integrate its schools in the 1960s. Instead, the board maintained segregated schools either by limiting the choices of students, or …by making no effort to reverse the effects of residential segregation, or both” (p. 23).  Indeed, TPS made affirmative decisions to maintain segregation in 1962 when the district opened Bowsher and Start high schools and redrew existing school boundaries for all district high schools except Scott: Scott High School was not involved in redistricting and became the Black high school.

Students became leaders demanding change. Musteric (1998) documents that in 1962, Woodward High School students were suspended for protesting about having “too few Negro teachers, no suitable history course on Negro life, no Negro cheerleaders, and only a token representative on the … athletic coaching staffs… At Scott HS, 300 students who supported the demands by Woodward students for a ‘Negro’ curriculum by boycotting classes were suspended by black principal Flute Rice.”

They received response in the form of the establishment of Woodward High School’s “Negro History Week” (emphasis added), which was immediately protested by the newly active white students’ group, United Citizens Council of America: “This is only the beginning of more intolerable situations that will occur unless we unite in a common cause for preservation of the civil rights of white students” ” (Musteric, pp. 24-25). 

Meanwhile, the TPS Board of Education published their official position on school integration on May 23, 1966: “The public schools will work cooperatively with all community agencies in constructive efforts to eliminate artificial separation on the basis of race, religious, or economic conditions.” Despite these intentions, a 1968 U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare study found TPS system non-compliant with civil rights laws pertaining to integration of students and staff in multiple areas (Musteric, 1998). 

Musteric notes the insight provided by Toledo’s local African-American newspaper, the Bronze Raven, in a 1971 editorial, saying that it  perhaps best summarizes the impact of the 1960s upon the schools: ‘During the last decade there has been some improvement in integration in the Toledo Public Schools, but no there are actually more schools that are predominantly black than there were then [in the early 1960s]’” (Musteric, p. 23).

In the 1970s, whites in Toledo increasingly sent their children to private parochial schools, while the public schools became increasingly overcrowded, with the predominantly Black Pickett, Fulton, and Cherry schools most seriously packed. Only two Black men had been on board of education; only one Black administrator in a predominantly white school; and while only one school did not have at least one Black teacher, staff were lodging complaints lodged with Ohio Civil Rights Commission about discrimination (Musteric, p. 91-92). 

In 1972 in Toledo, of 61 elementary and junior highs, “seven had a black student enrollment of over 90 percent… Three other schools had a black population of more than 80 percent…. 22 schools had no black enrollment” (Musteric, p. 87). In 1974, investigating TPS, the NAACP found “eleven schools had all their black students in programs such as special education, effectively creating a segregated ‘school within a school’….” (Musteric, p. 87). Students and staff were segregated by design, and acts of white violence supported the design: the Bronze Raven reported many incidents of violence and degradation against Black students by the white teams and schools they played. When disruptions occurred, it was the Black students who received punishment, not the white (Musteric, p. 93).

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, ruled that busing could be used to achieve racial balance: both Blacks and Whites opposed busing, but districts across the nation experimented with it anyway—including TPS.  But TPS made what has been described as a half-hearted attempt at integration using bussing. 

Gregory Johnson recalls his experience “getting integrated” when as an eighth grader, along with all his classmates and four of their teachers, he was “shipped out” from Pickett School to McTigue Junior High in the name of “integration” (Johnson, 2009). Up until then, Pickett had been K-8.  Johnson describes having enjoyed school at Pickett, where teachers practiced what we would now call reality pedagogy (Emdin, 2016)—a pedagogy based in strong relationships between teachers and students, the practice of basing lessons in the real world, often through field trips, and the belief that all students should be included. 

At Byrnedale, it was all “the book,” and Johnson recalls both the teachers and the students transplanted from Pickett suffered culture shock—with many of the students also suffering failure and being held back.  When they did graduate from eighth grade, Johnson recalls, the Black students were “shipped back” to their choice of Scott or Libbey high schools, while the white students, many of whom had become their friends, were sent to Bowsher or Rogers.  Clearly, there was no intention of true integration with the bussing experiment. 

Johnson sums up: “I still don’t understand why we were shipped out like that.  The only reason I see why they destroyed Pickett School like that was that the program was going too well…. It doesn’t make any sense for them to have shipped us out there and then shipped us right back…. The only thing I can think of is ‘divide and conquer’” (2009).

The history of segregation continues to this day, with work by Toledo’s African American Parents’ Association and others challenging it and pushing us as a community toward providing equitable, quality, antiracist education for all students. This has been only a bit of the history, but enough to provoke the questions: Why has Toledo Public historically supported segregation? What has been the role of “TU,” now the University of Toledo? How have segregation and inequitable, racist practices affected us all, Black and white, in creating and maintaining a racist society? What are we doing about those effects and continued practices now?


Johnson, G. (2009). Getting integrated? A personal history of public schooling. Pathways: The Literary and Art Journal of Owens Community College. Rossford, Ohio.

Messina, I. (2004, Dec. 20). Washington Local, TPS Split Still Stirs Debate. Retrieved from  https://www.toledoblade.com/local/education/2004/12/20/Washington-Local-TPS-split-still-spurs-debate/stories/200412200033

Musteric, M. (1998). Perpetuating patterns of inequality: School segregation in Toledo, Ohio in the 1970s. M.A. Thesis, BGSU.

Snyder, S. & Tavel, D (1992). To learning’s fount: Jesup W. Scott High School, 1913-1988, the first seventy-five years. No place, no date.

TLCPL Local History archives.

Anti-Racism Teach-Ins: Understanding the Present through the Past

Anti-Racism Teach-Ins: Critical Reflection for Change

Anti-Racism Teach-Ins: Confronting Racism in Our Curricula




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/17/20 09:51:25 -0400.

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