Saturday, August 03, 2013

RIP, Ernest Campbell, civil rights academic and long-time Germantown preservationist

I just learned that the former Vanderbilt sociologist who contributed so much to North End preservation died last Sunday at his Germantown home. This is sad news about a man who was a catalyst in our community, a professor who cut a figure in US civil rights history:

While at UNC, the Campbells welcomed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to their home when the civil rights leader visited Chapel Hill. Campbell studied the educational aspirations of white and black students in North Carolina in the early 1960s and received a call from the U.S. Office of Education asking him to serve as co-director of a project resulting from a mandate in the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 to study the effects of discrimination on race, sex and religion.

The scholars focused on education achievement and race, and the resulting large-scale study of nearly 800,000 students documented huge differences in test scores and achievement by race. The research additionally documented that the Southern region lagged significantly behind the rest of the nation in terms of education, especially in regard to race. The resulting study was dubbed the “Coleman Report” after its principal author, James S. Coleman, and was published in 1966.

Germantown has changed drastically in the decades since Ernest and Berdelle Campbell launched the preservation initiatives there. Those of us who live around them enjoy the fruits of their legacy, and rest assured that some here will not fail to recall their contributions to and influence in North Nashville.

Thank you, Ernest, and goodbye.

1 comment:

  1. Ernest and Berdelle met with me back in 2006 when I first started developing property in the neighborhood. They welcomed me into their home and advised me on a myriad of matters. I will remember Ernest fondly and appreciate their willingness to guide me down the proper path in the neighborhood.