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Southern University, Baton Rouge, was located on the banks of the Mississippi river, where the fragrance of magnolia on campus mixed with the smell of oil refineries down shore. It was founded for the education of “persons of color” as an alternative to segregated white institutions like Louisiana State University. This chapter describes how role models and great teachers, despite dilapidated buildings and second-hand books, helped to produce competitive adults, many of whom went on to careers of distinction. It also depicts the pain and moral dilemmas of administrators whose subservience in the face of great odds was the price they paid to make the assertiveness of their graduates possible.

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