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A View from the Inside…Thirty-Six Years of Desegregation

avfiThe Baton Rouge Community College Magnolia Library will host a book talk and discussion with author and scholar, Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D, on his latest book, “A View from the Inside…Thirty-Six Years of Desegregation,” on Wed., Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Reading Room. The event is free and open to the public.

The Magnolia Library Book Talk is a 20 to 30 minute presentation, followed by a Q&A, refreshments and time for open discussion with the author.

When Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D. arrived on LSU’s campus in 1973 to begin work as a professor of sociology, desegregation was still a work in progress. The university had hired its first African-American faculty member only two years earlier. For the next 36 years, Dr. Durant was in a unique position to observe the effects of racial integration at the highest levels of education. 

“A View from the Inside…Thirty-Six Years of Desegregation” is based on documentation from the earliest days of LSU’s desegregation, and on Dr. Durant’s personal experience as a sociology professor for almost four decades. 

In the book, Dr. Durant provides a detailed account of his journey from a small racially segregated town in north Louisiana to a large predominately white university, where he became engaged in the racial desegregation movement, during his 36-year tenure as a professor. Based on personal observations, experiences, documents, and reports, the book reveals how desegregation policies, programs, and events, and the actions of African American students, faculty, and staff, shaped the course of desegregation, cultural diversity, race relations, and cultural transformation of the university.

“This book fills a gap in the history of desegregation of a historically white public university that has not, heretofore, been revealed,” said -Joyce Marie Jackson, Ph.D. - Director, African & African American Studies/Professor, Dept. of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University.

Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D. – emeritus professor of sociology at Louisiana State University – is an author, entrepreneur, scholar, speaker and a community volunteer. Preceding the aforementioned book, he has published three books: “Plantation Society and Race Relations: The Origins of Inequality,”  “Our Roots Run Deep: History of the River Road African American Museum,” and “The Charity Hospitals of Louisiana: A Story of Poverty, Politics, Public Health, and Public Interest.” He has also published numerous articles in various scholarly journals. A native of Mansfield, La., Dr. Durant now makes his home in Baton Rouge.