Brown-Tougaloo Gates

Remembering Brown-Tougaloo Narrative 

The Brown-Tougaloo Partnership, formalized on May 18, 1964[1], joined Brown University and Tougaloo College, converging two institutions of higher learning dedicated to academic freedom, critical thought, and liberal education.

The partnership began during the peak of the Civil Rights Era. Essentially, it started as a contractual agreement, formally called the Brown Cooperative Exchange.  Brown committed to consulting Tougaloo on increasing its endowment, curbing student enrollment and building teaching resources.[2] The partnership automatically began on uneven terms. Brown asserted its authority as a white privileged institution by attempting model Tougaloo after itself rather than using its resources in the way Tougaloo faculty and leadership’s thought best. This included implementing the Brown Tougaloo Language Project — a controversial study on Tougaloo student’s English — despite disagreements with Tougaloo faculty and greater Jackson community.[3] Although Brown’s help meant well, the paternalistic power dynamic tainted the success of relationship.

Early tension over the unequal relationship led to a strained partnership for the past twenty years. Acknowledging history the partnership gives a critical perspective in memorializing the 250 year history of race relations on Brown’s campus.

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[1] “Brown University.” History. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://www.brown.edu/academics/college/special-programs/tougaloo/history.

[2] Application, Brown University to Title III, 1964. Brown University Archives Brown-Tougaloo Records, Box 30, folder 5. Accessed 11/06/2014 – 11/08/2014

[3] Williams, Niketa. “Brown-Tougaloo Language Project A Controversial Experiment.” Brown-Tougaloo Project. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://cds.library.brown.edu/projects/FreedomNow/themes/language/.