Bolivar County, Mississippi Fought School Desegregation For 50 Years. It Finally Lost

by IAN MILLHISER – In the summer of 1965, dozens of children sued the Bolivar County, Mississippi Board of Education “on their own behalf and on behalf of all other Negro children and parents.” They sought an end to racially segregated schools. But more than half a century later, the county continues to operate at least two schools that are almost entirely black. Last week, just days before the 62nd birthday of Brown v. Board of Education, a federal court ordered the district to end this practice. When the court’s order takes full effect — assuming that it is not reversed on appeal — it will be the first time in the history of Brown that schools in Bolivar County comply with the Constitution. The case, Cowan v. Bolivar County Board of Education, is a monument to the slow and difficult process that often faces school districts with a legacy...

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American Schools Are More Segregated Now Then They Were In 1968, And The Supreme Court Doesn’t Care

by IAN MILLHISER – Over the past two weeks, This American Life ran a two part series on the resegregation of American public schools. It is excellent and you should go listen to it here and here. The centerpiece of the first part is a town hall meeting in a predominantly white Missouri school district. White residents had just learned that students from the mostly black district that includes Ferguson, Missouri would be joining their own children due to a law giving students in failing school systems the opportunity to attend classes elsewhere — and these white parents were pissed. One mother demanded metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs, because she falsely believed that the black district was struggling because of a record of “violent behavior.” “I shopped for a school district!” she proclaimed as the crowd of white parents erupted around her in cheers, “I deserve to not have...

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