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Articles on Desegregation

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Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., left, and attorney Fred Gray, whom King called ‘the brilliant young Negro who later became the chief counsel for the protest movement,’ at a political rally in Tuskegee, Alabama, April 29, 1966. AP Photo/Jack Thornell

Fred Gray, the ‘chief counsel for the protest movement,’ to get Medal of Freedom for his civil rights work

When Rosa Parks was arrested for sitting in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Fred Gray was her lawyer. Now he’s being honored for a lifetime of civil rights advocacy.
Court-ordered desegregation has happened in the U.S. as recently as 2015, when a federal judge issued a desegregation order to the Cleveland, Miss., school district. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

US schools are not racially integrated, despite decades of effort

Though the 1954 Brown v. Board ruling required the integration of public education, US schools remain separated by race.
A U.S. Federal Marshal escorts Gail Etienne to her first day of school on Nov. 14, 1960. Underwood Archives/Getty Images

A New Orleans community center rises from its ugly history as a segregated school

In the early 1960s, the McDonogh 19 school was the site of fierce opposition to racial integration. The building is now owned by one of the Black girls who first integrated the school.
The collective memory of school desegregation is of anger and division, like in this photo of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford walking away from a crowd outside a high school in Little Rock, Ark. Bettmann via Getty Images

How did white students respond to school integration after Brown v. Board of Education?

Americans’ collective memory of school desegregation involves crowds of screaming white protesters. But less well known are the whites who stood by quietly, and those who approved of the changes.
Black teachers comprise just 7% of U.S. public school teachers even though 16% of their students are Black. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Lessons from segregated schools can help make today’s classrooms more inclusive

Two scholars of inclusive education explain how segregated Black schools advocated for Black children in a way that’s often missing from today’s desegregated classrooms.
School boycott picketers march across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Board of Education in 1964. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Fighting school segregation didn’t take place just in the South

In the 1950s, Harlem mother Mae Mallory fought a school system that she saw as ‘just as Jim Crow’ as the one she had attended in the South.
School segregation was the law of the land in the U.S. during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com

Who was the first Black child to go to an integrated school?

School integration is often thought of as something that took place in the 1960s. But the first Black student to desegregate a school by court order was an Iowa girl named Susan Clark in 1868.
A 1974 Supreme Court decision found that school segregation was allowable if it wasn’t being done on purpose. AP

The Supreme Court decision that kept suburban schools segregated

When the Supreme Court exempted suburbs in the North from the kind of desegregation orders imposed in the South, it enabled the ‘de facto’ segregation that continues in America’s schools to this day.
Thurgood Marshall outside the Supreme Court in Washington in 1958. Marshall, the head of the NAACP’s legal arm who argued part of the case, went on to become the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice. AP

The Brown v. Board of Education case didn’t start how you think it did

While the Brown vs. Board of Education case is often celebrated for ordering school desegregation, history shows many black people in the city where the case began opposed integrated schools.
Despite decades of attempts at integration, America’s school remain largely segregated. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Why America needs a new approach to school desegregation

Better funding, integrated neighborhoods and a diverse teacher workforce are among the things needed to dismantle a long-standing racially segregated school system, a scholar argues.

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