HISTORY

Supporters of this initiative are committed to pooling our talents, knowledge and resources to help reverse the rising rates of school drop outs, joblessness and incarceration among young black men, and to increase their representation in the pipeline to higher education.

In the 2003 Supreme Court decision affirming the constitutionality of the University of Michigan’s Law School diversity admission policies, Grutter v. Bollinger, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor predicted “that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”  The recent trend of increasingly higher rates of undereducation, unemployment and incarceration among young black men suggest otherwise.

The Grutter clock is ticking, even as evidence mounts that African-Americans — in particular, young black men — are falling farther behind whites on virtually every important social and economic measure.

The steady stream of reports that black males in grade school are more likely than others to repeat grades, score poorly on standardized tests and be suspended from or drop out of school are ominous warnings that the pool of black men in the pipeline to higher education is at risk of drying up.

Over the last decade, the enrollment of young black men in U.S. colleges and graduate schools has dramatically ebbed.  In 2003-2004, the percentage of African-Americans enrolled in U.S. law schools dipped to a 13 year low and, according to the American Bar Association, black enrollment dropped approximately 13 percent in the last academic year.   This is most acute among black men, who are outnumbered by black women nearly two-to-one in ABA-accredited U.S. law schools.  There have been similar enrollment declines at U.S. business and medical schools.  Blacks are less than 6 percent of the student population at most of the top-ranked business schools.   Similarly, since 1998, the number of black graduates at U.S. medical schools has fallen approximately 17 percent.

Inaugural “Winning Strategies” Forum

On July 14, 2006, well over 1,000 people from nearly every sphere of corporate and public life gathered in New York for an inaugural forum on The Pipeline Crisis: Winning Strategies for Young Black Men to discuss the alarming rate at which young black men are falling between the cracks.  The remarkable and sustained level of interest and hope generated at this forum unveiled a palpable thirst for solutions to these pressing social and economic problems.  The most recurrent areas of interest were

  • early care and education
  • public school education;
  • employment and economic development
  • criminal justice
  • high potential youth.

These broad categories were identified as areas of urgent need, and where the greatest opportunities for meaningful change can be mined.  A section of this website has been allocated to the working groups formed around these five areas.

This is an ongoing effort and we welcome suggestions about the website, new content and the Pipeline Crisis initiative.

Sources

  • ABA Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession, “The Critical Need to Further Diversify the Legal Academy and the Legal Profession” (Dec. 2005).
  • African American J.D. Enrollment 1971 – 2005.
  • Blacks at the Nation’s Top-Ranked Business Schools:  Enrollments are Down but the Graduation Rates are Almost Perfect, J. Blacks Higher Educ. (2005).
  • A JBHE Check-Up on Blacks in U.S. Medical Schools, J. Blacks Higher Educ. (2005).