Grass Roots and Glass Ceilings

African American Administrators in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities

Edited by William B. Harvey

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education
Paperback : 9780791441640, 169 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441633, 169 pages, April 1999

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Introduction by William B. Harvey

1. Succeeding against the Odds in Higher Education: Advancing Society by Overcoming Obstacles Due to Race and Gender
Reatha Clark King

2. From Cotton Picker to University CEO
Charlie Nelms

3. Succeeding as a Female African American President of a Predominantly White College
Vera Farris

4. "On the Outside Looking In"
Marie McDemmond

5. "A Meaningful Contribution"
Horace Judson

6. "A Dream Turned into Reality"
Althia deGraft-Johnson

7. All American Dream/African American Reality
Wesley Harris

8. Out of the Mainstream: An Unorthodox Pathway to the Office of Graduate Dean
Barbara Solomon

9. Observations and Intuitions
William B. Harvey

List of Contributors


SUNY series, Frontiers in Education

African American university and college presidents, vice presidents, and deans offer firsthand reflections on their encounters with racism in higher education and the strategies they use to overcome obstacles they face.


Grass Roots and Glass Ceilings offers observations and reflections on the experiences of African American leaders in predominantly white institutions of higher education. These current and past presidents, vice presidents, and deans relate frankly and in detail their personal experiences in the academic setting. They discuss their perseverance over obstacles such as racism and sexism, and examine the current and future state of higher education in America. Grass Roots and Glass Ceilings debunks the prevalent myth that academia is a setting where race is irrelevant, and where people are judged only by their intellectual capability.

Contributors include Vera Farris; Wesley Harris; Althia deGraft Johnson; Horace Judson; Reatha Clark King; Marie McDemmond; Charlie Nelms; and Barbara Solomon.

William B. Harvey is Dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is coeditor, with James R. Valadez, of Creating and Maintaining a Diverse Faculty, a volume in the series New Directions for Community Colleges, and coauthor of Affirmative Rhetoric, Negative Action: African-American and Hispanic Faculty at Predominantly White Institutions.


"These compelling stories illustrate vividly the authors' overcoming of obstacles in their climb up the career ladder." — Reginald Wilson, Senior Scholar Emeritus, American Council on Education