This video from The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow highlights Fisk University, founded in the 1880s by the American Home Mission Society. By the 1920s Fisk was the top black college in the United States and provided the best liberal arts education for African Americans; it was also the alma mater of the intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois. In 1924, in an effort to gain sizable donations from wealthy northern and southern funders, the white president Fayette McKenzie made many concessions. Most notably, he began to change the curriculum to reflect a more industrial education. The students, outraged and encouraged by Du Bois, walked out. Eventually, McKenzie resigned and the school returned to its original mission: to provide an elite higher education for black youth.
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