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Faculty Sponsor

Donald Nieman

Abstract

A major outcome of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the desegregation of higher-learning institutions. Despite this, there was little change regarding the character and cultural norms of predominantly white institutions (PWIs) of higher learning. In this review of literature discussing the experiences of Black students attending PWIs during the 1960s, I argue that cultural norms such as racial discrimination yielded a detrimental impact on the success and wellbeing of African-American students. While I discuss what quality wellbeing for African-American students entails, I highlight the significance of black student unions to the wellbeing of black students. In order to further distinguish and understand the social climate of PWIs during the 1960s, literature regarding the learning atmospheres of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) during the 1960s will also be discussed. Although political in nature, it is my argument that the formation of black student unions served as a catalyst to effectively address and improve the psychological nature of being an African-American student at an institution deemed unresponsive to the needs of African-American students.

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