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Kenneth S Tollett, Sr
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Birth: Jul. 14, 1931, USA
Death: Sep. 22, 2003, USA

Kenneth S. Tollett Sr., 72, an expert in affirmative action, desegregation and historically black colleges who was a distinguished professor of higher education at Howard University and directed its Institute for the Study of Educational Policy, died Sept. 22 at his home in Washington. He had arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Mr. Tollett, who retired in 2000, was a lawyer who taught courses in public school law at Howard. Early in his career, he was founding dean of Texas Southern University's law school. As a teacher and researcher in higher education, he was affiliated with Howard's graduate school for nearly 30 years.

Not long after settling in Washington in 1969, Mr. Tollett played a key role in helping fend off threats to abolish federal funding to predominantly black colleges. That effort led to higher education legislation establishing set-asides for those institutions.

He was an author during that period of a landmark report of the Carnegie Commission on the future of higher education, "From Isolation to Mainstream: Problems of the Colleges Founded for Negroes," which made a case for preservation of black institutions.

Mr. Tollett told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1988 that predominantly black colleges played an important role in education by offering their students role models. He said some blacks were so educationally disadvantaged that they benefited from the nurturing of the institutions and would be harmed by competition with white students.

"You want to keep in the front of America's consciousness how much blacks need to achieve education-wise," he said in a 1996 interview.

He said research indicated that there remained a need for Head Start preschool programs, affirmative action and "special consideration" for black students. He also theorized that inadequate self-esteem played a significant role in suppressing educational success for some students.

Mr. Tollett, whose books included "The Crisis of Black Masculinity" and "The Case for Black Higher Education and Affirmative Action," also wrote for such publications as the American Prospect and the magazine of the National Bar Association, an organization of predominately black lawyers. He also lectured extensively, appeared on television and radio programs and wrote position papers for the Congressional Black Caucus.

Kenneth Scruggs Tollett Sr. was born in Muskogee, Okla. He was a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he also received a law degree and a master's degree in political science. He practiced law in Chicago in the 1950s and was a troubleshooter for Cook County Sheriff Joseph D. Lohman.

At 28, Mr. Tollett was named acting dean of Texas Southern's law school, now the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He taught law at the University of Colorado before moving to Washington.

He was twice a visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was a member of the National Bar Association, which awarded him its highest prize, the C. Francis Stradford Award, for his writings on affirmative action. He also received the Black College Act Award of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

He was a consultant to committees of the American Association of University Professors and a member of the program committee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. He was an adviser to political campaigns, including the successful D.C. school board bids of his late cousin, the Rev. David H. Eaton.

Mr. Tollett was a member of the faculty senate at Howard.

His marriages to Jacqueline S. Tollett and Queen Tollett ended in divorce.

Survivors include two daughters from his first marriage, Erica E. Tollett and Nicola Tollett Jefferson, both of Washington; a son from his second marriage, Kenneth S. Tollett Jr. of Washington; three brothers; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
Imported from: UT State Historical Society
Originally Created by: ladyb (inactive)
Record added: Nov 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16729809


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