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Kudos to Black/Diverse Issues for Four Decades of Truth, Insight, Vision, and Integrity

Dr. William B. Harvey

My first encounter with Bill Cox and Frank Matthews was quite memorable. It took place in 1984 at a higher education conference at MIT, shortly after they had decided to confront the shortcomings in both the journalistic and academic communities by launching a new publication, Black Issues In Higher Education. In the best spirit of American entrepreneurship, they saw a need and they filled it. They pointed a spotlight on the underrepresentation of Black people in higher education institutions across the country. Since the establishment press chose to ignore this reality, Cox and Matthews stepped forward to address the situation, undeterred by the structural and cultural hurdles that stood in their way.

Dr. William B. HarveyDr. William B. HarveyBlack Issues In Higher Education confronted the academy with the unpleasant but undeniable reality that higher education was complicit in supporting a society that was, through various policies and practices, intentionally separate and unequal. The mirror that had been placed in front of America by the civil rights movement reflected a moral contradiction that had to be confronted within the institutions that were designed to develop the nation’s future leaders. It was no small undertaking to challenge the operations and values of colleges and universities, while at the same time soliciting advertisements from them to undergird the fiscal stability of this upstart publication and all the while maintaining journalistic integrity and publication standards.

The social and political landscape has been shifting and uneven over the 40 years that the Cox-Matthews team has taken on its mission, and considerably less progress has been realized within the academic community than what was hoped for. I have characterized these four decades as follows:

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A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics