Technology and the Dream

Technology and the Dream

Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941–1999

By Clarence G. Williams

Transcripts of more than seventy-five oral history interviews in which the interviewees assess their MIT experience and reflect on the role of blacks at MIT and beyond.
Hardcover $65.00 S £55.00
Paperback $19.75 S £15.99





Transcripts of more than seventy-five oral history interviews in which the interviewees assess their MIT experience and reflect on the role of blacks at MIT and beyond.

This book grew out of the Blacks at MIT History Project, whose mission is to document the black presence at MIT. The main body of the text consists of transcripts of more than seventy-five oral history interviews, in which the interviewees assess their MIT experience and reflect on the role of blacks at MIT and beyond. Although most of the interviewees are present or former students, black faculty, administrators, and staff are also represented, as are nonblack faculty and administrators who have had an impact on blacks at MIT. The interviewees were selected with an eye to presenting the broadest range of issues and personalities, as well as a representative cross section by time period and category.

Each interviewee was asked to discuss family background; education; role models and mentors; experiences of racism and race-related issues; choice of field and career; goals; adjustment to the MIT environment; best and worst MIT experiences; experience with MIT support services; relationships with MIT students, faculty, and staff; advice to present or potential MIT students; and advice to the MIT administration. A recurrent theme is that MIT's rigorous teaching instills the confidence to deal with just about any hurdle in professional life, and that an MIT degree opens many doors and supplies instant credibility.

Each interview includes biographical notes and pictures. The book also includes a general introduction, a glossary, and appendixes describing the project's methodology.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262232128 1056 pp. | 7 in x 9 in


$19.75 S | £15.99 ISBN: 9780262731577 1056 pp. | 7 in x 9 in


  • As one of the first major works to record the experience of black engineering students in North America, the text is a milestone.

    David C. K. Tay

    Canadian Consulting Engineer

  • This book offers a wealth of insights on the experience of African American students at a leading university that no recitation of statistics could duplciate—before the students entered, while they were enrolled, and after they graduated. The varied personal accounts remind us never to regard any ethnic group as monolithic, while acquainting us with the special burdens that almost all black students experience in a predominantly white university. For anyone concerned with student affairs or affirmative action, this is a valuable, informative volume.

    Derek Bok

    The 300th Anniversary University Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

  • Harvard president Derek Bok once said that recruiting and promoting black faculty was like being confronted with a great block of inertia. Here, in the MIT story from Dr. Clarence Williams, is the best account so far of how and why established academic departments at another great university fail to hire or tenure even the most gifted black scholars and teachers.

    Theodore Cross

    Editor, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

  • Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the MIT Experience, 1950-1999 is a MUST READ for anyone interested in effective recruitment and retention of underrepresented segments of our society at highly selective universities. Univeristy administrators, faculty, prospective students, parents, high school teachers and college counselors can all benefit from this book. Descriptions from students of their individual experiences and real insight from key administrators separate this book from the simplistic, aggregated assertions about intelligence and motivation being published elsewhere.

    James I. Cash, Jr.

    James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean, Publication Activities, Harvard Business School

  • This extraordinary compilation of reflections on the black experience at MIT offers a personal voice to a history that is still unfolding. Clarence Williams' introductory essay, which details the history of determined efforts by a great university to become more invlusive, is a high compliment to MIT yet is not self-congratulatory. There are lessons here for everyone interested in broadening educational opportunity in America.

    Willam G. Bowen

    President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; President-Emeritus, Princeton University

  • Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941–1999 is a must for anyone interested in promoting diversity at a major higher education institution. It is also a valuable collection of MIT's efforts to increase African American presence. I highly recommend it.

    Julius L. Chambers

    Chancellor, North Carolina Central University