Virtual Event: Eddie R. Cole


The Campus Color Line:
College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom

in conversation with KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD


October 16, 2020
12:00 PM ET


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.


Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes EDDIE R. COLE—an associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA—for a discussion of his book The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom. He will be joined in conversation by KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.

Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store

While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Campus Color Line on, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

Click here to join!

About The Campus Color Line

Some of America’s most pressing civil rights issues—desegregation, equal educational and employment opportunities, housing discrimination, and free speech—have been closely intertwined with higher education institutions. Although it is commonly known that college students and other activists, as well as politicians, actively participated in the fight for and against civil rights in the middle decades of the twentieth century, historical accounts have not adequately focused on the roles that the nation’s college presidents played in the debates concerning racism. Based on archival research conducted at a range of colleges and universities across the United States, The Campus Color Line sheds light on the important place of college presidents in the struggle for racial parity.

Focusing on the period between 1948 and 1968, Eddie Cole shows how college presidents, during a time of violence and unrest, strategically, yet often silently, initiated and shaped racial policies and practices inside and outside of the educational sphere. With courage and hope, as well as malice and cruelty, college presidents positioned themselves—sometimes precariously—amid conflicting interests and demands. Black college presidents challenged racist policies as their students demonstrated in the streets against segregation, while presidents of major universities lobbied for urban renewal programs that displaced Black communities near campus. Some presidents amended campus speech practices to accommodate white supremacist speakers, even as other academic leaders developed the nation’s first affirmative action programs in higher education.

The Campus Color Line illuminates how the legacy of academic leaders’ actions continues to influence the unfinished struggle for Black freedom and racial equity in education and beyond.

Praise for The Campus Color Line

"The Campus Color Line is a stunning and ambitious origins story. Embedded with breathtaking narratives recovered from meticulous research, this book vividly connects the actions of past college presidents to the racial issues that we, as a society, struggle with today." —Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning and #1 New York Times–bestselling author

"Relying on a wealth of archival sources that provide detail and depth, The Campus Color Line will interest all those examining higher educational leadership, the Black freedom struggle, and the evolution of different college campuses amidst intense pressures. A welcome addition to the literature, it will be widely read." —Joy Williamson-Lott, author of Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Southern Social Order

"The Campus Color Line makes an original contribution to the history of the civil rights movement and to the history of higher education in the United States. Based on prodigious research, this important book establishes historical accounts that deserve to be reckoned with." —Nancy Weiss Malkiel, author of “Keep the Damned Women Out”: The Struggle for Coeducation

Eddie R. Cole
Eddie R. Cole

Eddie R. Cole

Eddie R. Cole, Ph.D., is associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA, and the author of The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom. Named in 2021 by Education Week as one of “the top university-based scholars in the U.S. who did the most last year to shape educational practice and policy,” Cole’s scholarship has also been featured in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also appeared on BBC World News and C-Span BookTV.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is the Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race and Public Policy, and Director of the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard), and a contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study. Khalil co-hosts the Pushkin podcast “Some of My Best Friends Are,” and is a frequent reviewer and commentator in national print and broadcast media outlets, such as the Washington Post, National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, MSNBC, and the New York Times, which includes his sugar essay for The 1619 Project.

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Friday Forum

Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars.

General Info
(617) 661-1515

Media Inquiries

Accessibility Inquiries

Classic Totes

Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs
, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!

Learn More »

Shipping & Pickup

We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!

Learn More »

Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!

Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.

Learn More »