Nearly Half of All Black College Graduates Never Had A Black Professor: Did You?

Leslie Pitterson, Clutch Magazine | May 17, 2011

As the graduation season is in full swing, we’re reminded that nearly half of black college students were never taught by a professor of their own race.

According to a survey, from

42 percent of African Americans who attended a predominantly white university never had a single black professor during four years of college.

Nearly three-quarters of these students (74 percent) had only one black professor in a field outside of African American studies.

In a recent piece for, Dr. Boyce Watkins, professor at Syracuse University commented on the survey’s results, writing:

There are various theories regarding why black professors are missing in many of America’s universities. To hear the story told by many campus administrators, black professors are missing because they simply don’t exist or are all unqualified to teach at predominantly white institutions. “We can’t find qualified minorities” is the typical comment made on many campuses who claim to seek diversity. In my experience teaching at the college level over the past 17 years, I cannot agree with this assessment. My in-box is full of stories from black professors all over the country who either cannot get academic jobs, or who were released from their campuses because they “didn’t fit” with the culture of the faculty in their departments.

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