This book examines an extraordinary event in American education: young blacks from economically impoverished backgrounds enter the elite world of the upper class prep schools, a world permeated by overt and covert, blatant and subtle, forms of discrimination. The authors draw upon the experiences of the early black graduates of "A Better Chance", a programme designed to recruit and prepare minority students for attendance at elite boarding schools. Based on in-depth interviews with 38 of the early graduates - men and women now in their late thirties and early forties - the book examines the dramatic transition from their homes and schools in black communities to the most exclusive schools in America. The graduate discuss the pressures they felt, the friendships they made, and the discrimination they faced. The authors follow the lives of these people, examining the impact of the programme on their subsequent occupational and personal lives. Finally, they draw upon their study of "A Better Chance" graduates to examine the relative importance of race and class in America, concluding that while the importance of class has increased in the past few decades, race is still the paramount factor in the personal and social identity of blacks.
Publisher: Yale University Press
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