Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Thomas O'Brien

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Thelma Roberson

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Terrell Tisdale


This study examines leadership efforts that supported the civil rights movements that came from administrators and professors, students and staff at Tougaloo College between 1960 and 1964. A review of literature reveals that little has been written about the college‘s role in the Civil Rights Movement during this time. Thus, one goal of this study is to fill a gap in the historical record.

A second purpose of this study is to examine the challenges of progressive leadership at a historically Black college in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement when a White president was at the helm.

When Dr. Adam D. Beittel was appointed the Tougaloo president in 1960, African Americans in Mississippi were facing difficult times. At first, Beittel and the college seemed a perfect fit. Both had extensive histories of outreach and ministries. At Tougaloo, Beittel became recognized as an extraordinary college administrator, mainly in his ability to increase student enrollment, boost external funding, and to improve buildings and the school‘s physical plant.

In spite of Beittel‘s accomplishments, his presidency was not long lasting. In fact, it came to an unforeseen and abrupt end on September 1, 1964, with Beittel‘s forced resignation. By that time, the pressures of leading a historically Black college during such adverse times had strained Beittel‘s relationships, even those from within his group of allies, and his supporters throughout the Jackson community.

During Beittel‘s presidency at Tougaloo, nearby civil rights battles were waged, such as the integrating of Jackson‘s lunch counters, churches, libraries, and entertainment venues. This study focuses on the roles Beittel and other Tougaloo administrators and professors played in these critical events between 1960 and 1964.