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The New Southern UniversityAcademic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC$
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Charles Holden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813134383

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813134383.001.0001

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“A New Negro Is About to Come on the Scene”:

“A New Negro Is About to Come on the Scene”:

Leadership vs. Caution in the Struggle for Racial Equality

(p.87) 4 “A New Negro Is About to Come on the Scene”:
The New Southern University

Charles J. Holden

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter examines how an increasingly assertive African American community caused UNC leaders to begin invoking their expertise to advocate caution against too much change, rather than using their expertise to hasten change as they had done in the 1920s. The crisis of the Great Depression offered a chance for southern progressives to push for changing southern race relations through the increasingly sympathetic presidential administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Civil rights for African Americans also began to find important success through Supreme Court rulings at the end of the 1930s. A now more fluid context surrounding segregation threw UNC leaders on the defensive: not to justify segregation at all costs, but to urge a much slower course of change than African American leaders and students wanted. The decade ended with African American students challenging directly the UNC's whites-only admissions policy, foreshadowing the freedom struggle of the 1950s.

Keywords:   civil rights, New Deal, segregation, race relations, Great Depression, Supreme Court, Roosevelt

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