Head-to-Head: A Meeting of Inspired Minds
Dreaming of Bigotry’s End
In the late 1960s, a handful of white philanthropists living in the American South quietly conducted a social experiment they hoped would change the character of the region. They recruited and paid for 140 talented African American students to integrate into all-white Southern boarding schools, then havens for white families fleeing court-ordered integration. The question at the heart of their effort was novel: Could they make white students less bigoted by exposing them to black students? For ten years, a North Carolina-based organization called the Stouffer Foundation led the effort, attempting also to fashion a social science study of the results.
In this talk, Mosi Secret – a former reporter for the New York Times and ProPublica – will examine the ideas that propelled this unique experiment and the beliefs that pushed African American pioneer students to excel against the odds. Secret will be in discussion with new American Academy president Daniel Benjamin. They will speak about current race relations in the United States, as citizens and communities grapple with ways to foster and teach tolerance.
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