School Desegregation

1062 Words 5 Pages
The U.S. Supreme Court decision reached in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) unleashed a process of public school desegregation that attempted to end the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). However, large-scale desegregation did not occur before the mid-1960s, and some resistant school systems did not start implementing credible desegregation plans until the early-1970s. In North Carolina, Robeson County School System and Greensboro City School System received certification for their school plans by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) in 1970 and 1971, respectively. Not only do these two school systems offer unique trends because of their late HEW approvals, but they also …show more content…
In 1954, after the Brown decision, the federal government refused to offer instructions for public school desegregation, allowing pro-segregation forces to coalesce. Even when the Court followed up on the decision in 1955 in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1955), also known as Brown II, the result was a transfer of responsibility to the local school authorities. The vague evaluation of these authorities by the phrase, “with all deliberate speed,” ensured a messy and contentious desegregation process. Segregationists took advantage of this uncertainty by hardening their resolve through public pronouncements and formulating state laws that would inhibit desegregation. In North Carolina, the state’s legislature passed the Pupil Assignment Act (1955) and the Pearsall Plan (1956), which both transferred political power to the local levels of government. Although Southern schools started to “desegregate” in response to legal challenges, this desegregation was only symbolic. From 1954 to 1964, the percentage of black students attending majority white schools increased from zero percent to 2.3 percent, a negligible

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