School Integration: Introduction

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In 1954, the Supreme Court officially struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson in its Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ruled that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal. Some areas readily embraced integration after Brown, while others submitted only after furthur prodding from the courts. School administrators quickly realized that they faced many problems, such as increased violence and increased disparity in the abilities of students in the same classroom. Also, because of de facto segregation, many Northern school districts had to resort to busing as a means to achieving integration, which resulted in heightened racial tensions. Yet despite its problems, integration of the public schools of America was an important step towards equality among all the races.

  1. Little Rock, Arkansas mounted one of the most famous oppositions to integration in 1957
  2. Prince George's County, Maryland, after dragging its feet somewhat on integration, gave up on a freedom of choice plan and ended up implementing a busing system to overcome de facto segregation
  3. Washington, D.C. integrated quickly but had to implement a track system to cope with the great disparities in student abilities
  4. Boston, Massachusetts ran into white opposition to blacks being bused to white schools

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Adapted from School Integration in the United States, a web project written for my tenth grade African history class.

Copyright © 1998 Lisa Cozzens ( ). Please read this before you email me!
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Last modified: Mon Jun 22, 1998