In the late 1960s, a handful of white philanthropists living in the American South quietly conducted a social experiment that they hoped would change the character of the region. They recruited and paid for 140 talented African American students to integrate all-white, Southern boarding schools, then havens for white families fleeing court-ordered integration. The question at the heart of their effort was novel for the time: Could they make white students less bigoted by exposing them to black students? For 10 years, the North Carolina-based Stouffer Foundation led the effort and attempted to produce a social science study of the results. In his talk, Secret discusses the ideas that propelled this unique experiment and the beliefs that led the African American pioneer students to excel against the odds.
Moderated by Kelly Virella, Senior Staff Editor, International Desk, The New York Times.