The history of the African American Community College
The first effort of minority trustees to organize was in the early 80’s at the behest of Dr. Charles Kennedy, trustee of Joliet Community College; he was the first black trustee in the United States. Three California trustees took on the work of organizing what later became the Minority Affairs Caucus:
Lois J. Carson,
-San Bernardino Community College District
-Los Angeles Community College District
-San Francisco Community College District
The Caucus included Hispanic trustees, three of whom were Al Arce, New Jersey, Chuck Ayala, San Francisco CCD and Armando Ruiz from Orange County. After numerous meeting in members’ hotel rooms, over two or three years, a proposal was developed in Vancouver, BC, Canada to present to the ACCT Board of Directors, which was presided over by the first black president, Charles Reid, trustee of the San Diego Community College District.
The Minority Affairs Caucus held a luncheon meeting at each Convention to deal with issues effecting minority students, staff and trustees. After meeting, the Caucus and would present solutions for redress to the ACCT Board. The Caucus worked to address issues around:
A. Transfer agreements between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities to encourage minority students to transfer.
B. Recommending minority presenters at national ACCT Conventions.
C. Recommending minority trustees for ACCT Convention workshops as moderators and presenters.
The efforts to get minorities elected to the ACCT Board paid off with the election of the second minority president, Montez Martin of South Carolina, as well as Lois Carson and Jacqueline Holland of New York.
To honor the contributions of Dr. Charles Kennedy, the first African-American trustee and his leadership in the college district of Illinois, the Minority Affairs Caucus created the Dr. Charles Kennedy Award which the ACCT awards to institutions for their efforts surrounding diversity.
Today, the African American Community College Trustees Association serves as an organization committed to:
Assessing the cumulative effects of higher education policy on African American students, faculty and staff
Evaluating the impact of education on economic sustainability to African Americans
Producing ongoing conversations around the application of best practices and effective education policies
Promoting civic engagement to transform communities across the nation through productive educational models for rural and urban learning communities
Dr. Charles Kennedy
Meet the members
of our executive board