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Academic Achievement & Racial Identity (1987)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1987-10-18

Duration: 00:27:03

Subjects: Education | African Americans


  • Masingale, Sonya Host
  • Finister, Paesha Interviewee
  • Merritt, Byron Interviewee
  • Carpenter, Keisha Interviewee
  • Washington, Joe, Jr. Interviewee
  • Cawthorn, Belena Interviewee
  • Robinson, Robin Interviewee
  • Hollins, Leroy Interviewee
  • Robinson, Kimberly Interviewee
  • Spears, Kenneth Interviewee
  • Scott, Alyson Interviewee
  • Davis, Felicia Interviewee
  • Carter, Donald Interviewee
  • Mencer, Melanie Interviewee
  • Briggs, Carl Interviewee
  • Robinson, Press Interviewee
  • Frank, Cortez Interviewee


This episode of the series “Folks” from October 18, 1987, features Sonya Masingale’s report on academic achievement and racial identity following a national study that found many black students viewed academic achievement as white behavior. Masingale interviews high achieving African Americans students at three high schools, Booker T. Washington High School in Shreveport, Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, and Baton Rouge Magnet High School. The students are: Paesha Finister, Byron Merritt, Keisha Carpenter, and Joe Washington, Jr. at Booker T. Washington; Robin Robinson, Leroy Hollins, Kimberly Robinson, and Kenneth Spears at Southern Lab; and Alyson Scott, Felicia Davis, Donald Carter, Melanie Mencer, and Carl Briggs at Baton Rouge High. They discuss other students’ reactions to their academic achievement and the advantages to attending either a predominately African American school (Booker T. Washington and Southern Lab) or an integrated school (Baton Rouge High.) Masingale also conducts an in-studio interview with Dr. Press Robinson of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and Cortez Frank, a teacher at Southern Lab. They discuss: whether high achieving students experience peer pressure; the public perception that predominately black schools offer an inferior education; and the importance of socialization for students from different races.