A Forgotten Migration

Black Southerners, Segregation Scholarships, and the Debt Owed to Public HBCUs

By Crystal R. Sanders

A Forgotten Migration

256 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7980-8
    Published: October 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7979-2
    Published: October 2024

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

Paperback Available October 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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A Forgotten Migration tells the little-known story of "segregation scholarships" awarded by states in the US South to Black students seeking graduate education in the pre–Brown v. Board of Education era. Under the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, decades earlier, southern states could provide graduate opportunities for African Americans by creating separate but equal graduate programs at tax-supported Black colleges or by admitting Black students to historically white institutions. Most did neither and instead paid to send Black students out of state for graduate education.

Crystal R. Sanders examines Black graduate students who relocated to the North, Midwest, and West to continue their education with segregation scholarships, revealing the many challenges they faced along the way. Students that entered out-of-state programs endured long and tedious travel, financial hardship, racial discrimination, isolation, and homesickness. With the passage of Brown in 1954, segregation scholarships began to wane, but the integration of graduate programs at southern public universities was slow. In telling this story, Sanders demonstrates how white efforts to preserve segregation led to the underfunding of public Black colleges, furthering racial inequality in American higher education.

About the Author

Crystal R. Sanders is associate professor of African American studies at Emory University.
For more information about Crystal R. Sanders, visit the Author Page.


"This book is essential reading for all who have both the curiosity and courage to wade deeply into the troubled waters of this nation's history relative to the education of Black Americans. Well researched, gracefully written, and urgently needed, do yourself a favor and read this book!"

—Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education

"This book nobly moves beyond the barbarity of racism to penetrate an unsettling part of the past that desperately needs to be highlighted. Audiences throughout the nation will devour this narrative."—Stefan M. Bradley, author of Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League

"I know of no other book that represents such a timely, engaging, and important contribution to the field."

—Rachel Devlin, author of A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools