The U.S. land grant system is notably stratified in its distribution of knowledge and power. In the upper strata are historically white land grant (HWLG) institutions often referred to as "1862 Institutions," which command power and resources from their historic ability to produce the agricultural and scientific knowledge supportive of state and national economic development goals. In the lower strata are historically black land grant (HBLG) institutions often called "1890 institutions." They struggle against the historical conditioning that has, until recently, restricted their efforts in producing knowledge to the manual applications and teaching of farming. This article examines how historical forces have influenced the production of knowledge within HBLG institutions and subsequently attenuated their competitiveness within the modem research arena. Also discussed is a different approach for transforming a land grant system long characterized by patterns of institutional stratification.

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