Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



Political Science


This study examines the internal workings at Fisk University from 1977-1984. The main aim is to uncover several hidden factors contributing to the demise of the historically Black colleges and universities in the United States. The mission, place, and historical role of the challenges at Fisk University and the manner in which they were dealt with are presented. The period 1977-1984 is investigated because unlike other critical periods in the University's history, the issues which propelled the institution to the point of crisis are clearest and contain many important lessons relevant to the present, especially as they relate to the struggle for survival of the historically Black colleges and universities. The findings suggest that the failure of the Fisk Board of Trustees to be more involved in the governance of the university at a broader spectrum, along with their view of a contemporary education and the educational mission of a "Black college" led to the systematic destruction of the institution. Moreover, the board's views were contrary to the conjunctural and strategic educational needs of African American people in the United States of America.