James A. Joseph is Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Public Policy at Duke University. Joseph served as the United States Ambassador to South Africa from 1996 to 2000, and as the Under Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior from 1977 to 1981. He was the President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, Vice President of the Cummins Engine Company, and served as Chaplain of the Claremont Colleges. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Order of Good Hope, South Africa’s highest award to a citizen of a foreign country. Joseph is also the author of
On the Banks of the Mississippi
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.