Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




While Emory & Henry College's catalogue today states that the institution does not "discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin," this was not the case just a little more than thirty years ago. Throughout much of the South, African Americans were legally barred from attending various traditionally white colleges and universities. This thesis looks at the integration process at Emory & Henry College, a small private, Methodist-affiliated institution in southwest Virginia.

As early as the 1940's the subject of integration was informally discussed by the faculty and students at Emory & Henry. It became a major topic for this and several other institutions after the decision made by the 1954 Supreme court in regard to Brown v. the Board of Education. Integration was debated at Emory & Henry from the early 1950's until the first African-American student was allowed to live on campus in 1965.

Several factors contributed to the delay in the integration of Emory & Henry College. These included a small African-American population in southwest Virginia, reluctance of the community surrounding the college to accept Emory & Henry's integration, and the higher cost of attending a private institution. On the other hand, the growing access to higher education in America, and the end of segregationist practices at various Southern institutions assisted in the integration of Emory & Henry.

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