The Public Interest

Race and college admissions

John H. Bunzel

Winter 1996

WHEN I began my academic career in the early 1950s, there were virtually no black students at the leading Ivy League universities. A decade after the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, blacks still comprised no more than 1 percent of the student body at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. But, by the early 1970s, black students at these three “selective institutions” ranged from 7 percent to 10 percent of the freshman class. Nationwide, the percentage of blacks rose from 4.3 percent in 1960 to 9.8 percent in 1975.

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