J. Michael Butler: Confederate Symbolism and School Integration

In January 1973, an African American EHS student and her mother asked for a permanent injunction against the school’s images. They did not file a new lawsuit; instead, they appealed under the Augustus v. Escambia School Board integration order on the basis that the symbols represented “symbolic resistance” to a court-ordered unitary school system. Winston Arnow, a federal district court judge, agreed. In a fourteen-page opinion, he called the Confederate icons “racially irritating,” declared they “generated a feeling of inequality and inferiority among black students,” and proclaimed them “a source of racial violence” at EHS. Because the county school board failed to resolve the conflict, Arnow reasoned, it violated earlier school desegregation mandates and he issued a permanent injunction against the “Rebels” nickname and all related imagery. His decision was not without precedent. Continue Reading J. Michael Butler: Confederate Symbolism and School Integration

Tracy K’Meyer: The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights in Schools

The modern civil rights movement fought for racial equality and to create an interracial “beloved community.” People in the movement did not make a distinction between action in the schools, the voting booth, or the streets toward those goals. Education was another arena for fighting racism and securing equal resources and opportunity. Seeing school desegregation as an integral part of the civil rights movement reminds us that an equal education is a basic human right that has been fought for but not yet achieved, and that overcoming racism in the classroom as in the community remains a moral imperative. For many local people, like Suzy Post, in Louisville and Jefferson County, the civil rights movement continues because the struggle to protect desegregation and through it achieve educational equity and better human understanding has not yet been won. Continue Reading Tracy K’Meyer: The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights in Schools

Tracy E. K’Meyer: Busing and the Desegregation of Louisville Schools

For historians of school desegregation, Louisville’s story challenges a narrative that has been dominated by resistance, disillusion, and failure. For citizens, these stories remind us how our predecessors struggled for equality in education and inspire us to keep up a fight that is far from over. Continue Reading Tracy E. K’Meyer: Busing and the Desegregation of Louisville Schools

Jill Ogline Titus: Back-to-School Reflections

Jill Ogline Titus reflects on how Prince Edward Co., VA, responded to Brown vs. BoE by closing all public schools for 5 years to avoid integrating them. Continue Reading Jill Ogline Titus: Back-to-School Reflections

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 57 years ago today

Fifty-seven years have passed since the ruling in this monumental Supreme Court case that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and found laws for “separate but equal” black schools and white schools to be unconstitutional. While this decision was a huge move in the right direction in the Civil Rights movement, it was met with resistance by… Continue Reading Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 57 years ago today

Today’s Segregated Schools

A federal judge Tuesday ordered a rural county in southwestern Mississippi to stop segregating its schools by grouping African American students into all-black classrooms and allowing white students to transfer to the county’s only majority-white school, the U.S. Justice Department announced. (read the whole story here) When I saw the story yesterday headlined “Miss. county… Continue Reading Today’s Segregated Schools