' brown-tougaloo exchange ' Freedom Now! mississippi freedom movement

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Funding Black Colleges
Title III of the Higher Education Act

by Danny Doncan, Brown '05

The Brown-Tougaloo Cooperative Exchange had a big impact on the funding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by serving as a catalyst for a new federal funding program commonly known as Title III. When the Brown-Tougaloo program began in 1964, other colleges in the north and in the west were starting similar programs with HBCUs. These cooperative programs highlighted the HBCUs' lack of financial resources and helped bring federal attention to the problem. The Higher Education Act of 1965 remains one of the most important federal programs for education and Title III of that act served to provide federal funding to many HBCUs. Harold Pfautz, a Brown professor of Sociology and an early director of the Brown-Tougaloo program testified in Congress about the financial needs of colleges like Tougaloo.

Title III helped maintain Tougaloo as a private college, something that had proven very important during the Freedom Movement. Because they were at a private institution, Tougaloo students and faculty could challenge the status quo without local governments taking away their funding. At least in part because of this independence, Tougaloo became a center for political activity in Mississippi. But such political activity also meant that local whites refused to support Tougaloo College. The Brown-Tougaloo program was designed to help Tougaloo develop its financial resources and Brown included lobbying for federal support in that help. Movement protestors had often turned to the federal government, with mixed results, for help in challenging local and state governments. In some ways, it made sense to both Brown and Tougaloo to appeal for federal funding for Tougaloo's educational programs.

Before Title III, federal funding for HBCUs existed but the funding was not at the level of that received by public universities. The Act has been amended several times since its passage, diversifying financial support and spurring many programs in education. HBCUs still have financial problems, specifically in the recruitment of students because they lack the resources to offer scholarships as big as those of larger public and private universities.

Some criticize Title III for not strengthening HBCUs enough, but Tougaloo has grown financially and in size since the inception of the cooperative program and with the help of federal funding.

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