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Beyond Brown v. Board: The Anne Pruitt-Logan papers and the Desegregation of Higher Education

by Jasmaine Talley, Curator of Manuscripts & Rare Books

When we think of the Brown vs. Board of Education case which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, we often only imagine events from the 1950s and the 1960s. However, the fight to desegregate schools lasted decades after that landmark case. Additionally, the effort to desegregate higher education involved other court cases and other complexities. The Anne Pruitt-Logan papers, which are now open and available for research, document the movement to desegregate higher education.

A letter of appointment from Howard University
A letter of appointment from Howard University

Dr. Anne Pruitt-Logan (nee Anne Loring Smith) was born on September 19, 1929 in Bainbridge, Georgia. She attended Hutto High School where she graduated in 1945. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1949 with a double minor education and German. She also earned a Master’s in Guidance and Student-Personnel Administration with a minor in counseling from the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1950 and an Education Doctorate. Throughout her career, she has helped positions at Hutto High School, Albany State University, Fisk University, Howard University, and Ohio State University.

The collection includes personal correspondence and materials that document Dr. Pruitt-Logan's career as an educator, counselor, researcher, and author. The bulk of the materials concerns the desegregation of higher education. From thee 1960s to the 1980s there were a series of court cases that challenged segregation at American universities. The most well-known of these court cases was the Adams v. Richardson which addressed dual racial systems of public higher education that existed in some states after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dr. Pruitt-Logan worked with the Southern Education Foundation which scrutinized the higher education desegregation plans and employment practices of seven states collectively known as the “Adams States:” Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Along with her colleagues, Dr. Pruitt-Logan created reports from data, court cases, and legislation from those states.

Dr. Pruitt-Logan’s papers also include many collected articles and newspaper clippings about the desegregation of high education as well. This collected research provides an interesting snapshot of how university administrators and lawmakers responded (or didn’t respond) to desegregation initiatives. Her collection will no doubt help researchers understand the ongoing work to make higher education more accessible to students and faculty.

Summary of the report “Black Employment in Traditionally White Institutions in the Adams States”
Summary of the report “Black Employment in Traditionally White Institutions in the Adams States”
Summary of the report “Black Employment in Traditionally White Institutions in the Adams States”

This collection was processed with funding assistance from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant project, “A Range of Experiences: Documenting African American Women’s History and Achievements.” This grant helps the Amistad Research Center continue its mission to elevate the rich stories and accomplishments of women such as Dr. Anne Pruitt Logan.

Link to the Anne Pruitt-Logan papers finding aid.

Institute of Museum and Library Services


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