Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in History


Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

First Advisor

Ted M. Ownby

Second Advisor

Mohammed Bashir Salau

Third Advisor

Rebecca Marchiel

Relational Format



Despite the recent scholarship exploring Black student activism at Mississippi colleges and universities during the twentieth century, the formation of a statewide coalition of Black students from historically Black colleges and predominantly white institutions remains unexamined. Historians interested in Mississippi’s Black Student Movement have failed to include a study that explores the Black intercollegiate ad hoc committee that formed after the mass arrests of Black students at Mississippi Valley State College and the University of Mississippi in February of 1970. Between 1969 and 1970, law enforcement officials arrested and detained over one thousand Black college students at Mississippi’s infamous Parchman penitentiary. These students from Delta State College, Mississippi Valley State College, and the University of Mississippi promoting Black Power, challenged Black respectability politics, and protested anti-Black racism on their campuses. There are two major works that examine Black college student activism in Mississippi during the 1960s and 1970s. Joy Ann Williamson-Lott’s Radicalizing the Ebony Tower and Nancy Bristow’s Steeped in the Blood of Racism, are works that discuss Black college student activism in the state, however, these authors center protests at historically Black colleges. An analysis that centers Black student activism at the three campuses where the mass arrests occurred helps explain what caused students to unite in protest. However, to fully appreciate and understand Mississippi’s Black Student Movement, it is also necessary to include an examination of coalition-building efforts between Black students at historically Black colleges and predominantly white institutions and the collaboration between higher education officials and law enforcement to disrupt Black activism through suspensions, threats of expulsion, surveillance and mass incarceration.

Available for download on Thursday, August 15, 2024