If You Call It History, You’ve Got to Do History’: Historians Chafe at a Video That Omitted Their University’s Whites-Only OriginsHistorians in the News
tags: higher education, academia, Louisiana Tech
When Louisiana Tech University opened its doors, in 1895, its inaugural students had to be at least 14 years of age, pass a mathematics exam, and be able to read, write, and spell with “tolerable correctness.”
They also had to be white.
But that crucial qualification is not mentioned in a nine-minute video about the institution’s 125-year history, posted last week on YouTube.
There’s a growing movement among colleges and universities, especially in the South, to grapple with their racist legacies, rooted in chattel slavery and perpetuated in its aftermath. Scholars, along with students and community activists, are often the ones driving universities to acknowledge that they were founded by white people, for white people — often by white men, for white men.
Within that national context, “it certainly is odd, to put it mildly,” that Louisiana Tech does not mention in the video that the institution was segregated for about 70 years — more than half of its existence, said John Worsencroft, an assistant professor of history at the institution. Universities are in the business of selling their stories. They want a narrative of progress, Worsencroft said, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But that narrative only means something, he said, when it’s underpinned by historical knowledge.
comments powered by Disqus
- Boston Refused to Close Schools During the 1918 Flu. Then Children Began to Die
- Trump Won’t Win by Doubling-Down on his Racist Appeals but the Right’s Open Bigotry Comes at a Cost
- What to Stream: A Blazing Interview with Orson Welles By Richard Brody
- Trump’s Attack on the Postal Service Is a Threat to Democracy—and to Rural America
- Kamala Harris and the Growing Political Power of Black Women
- The Harvard Professor Who Told the World That Jesus Had a Wife (Review)
- For Black Suffragists, the Lens Was a Mighty Sword
- In Women’s Suffrage, a Spotlight for Unsung Pioneers
- A Powerful New Memorial To UVA’s Enslaved Workers Reclaims Lost Lives And Forgotten Narratives
- Unearthing New Histories of Black Appalachia (Review)