Ending Racial Segregation in Schools

School Desegregation Quiz

The Supreme Court ruling that schools must desegregate with “all deliberate speed” was based on what study?

In 1961 the University of Alabama admits Autherine Lucy, its first African American student. White students riot. The National Guard is sent in to protect the students. This leads to massive race riots.

What is desegregation?

Desegregation is a term that refers to ending policies that separate people of different races into separate institutions, such as schools. School desegregation was a major goal of the civil rights movement in the United States, and it continues to be a focus of legal debates today.

In 1954, the Supreme Court struck down laws requiring segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling was the first step toward racial integration of educational systems.

In the decades following Brown, many American schools became legally desegregated through a variety of methods, including court-ordered busing. This practice sparked numerous protests, both violent and nonviolent, across the country. Other court decisions, such as Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, approved busing as a tool for desegregation.

What is integration?

Integration is the process of ending segregation by integrating different groups or individuals into a single group. It was a key goal of the American Civil Rights Movement and continues to be an important issue in the United States today.

One important aspect of integration is desegregating schools, which was a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement. This was achieved through court rulings such as Brown v. Board of Education, as well as through busing programs.

Busing is the practice of transporting students from one district to another to achieve racial integration in schools. This was a major aspect of school desegregation after the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The desegregation of schools was not an easy task. Many middle and upper class White people moved out of urban areas that were subject to forced busing, known as “white flight,” which made it difficult to meet the desegregation requirements of the courts.

What is de jure segregation?

De jure segregation is legally imposed segregation, such as Jim Crow laws in the South or housing covenants in Seattle. It differs from de facto segregation, which is the result of private prejudice rather than official policy.

Rothstein argues that the Supreme Court misunderstood how neighborhoods became segregated by using the term “de facto.” He uses documents on southern segregation, housing covenants, and protests in Seattle to show that government policies were central to the process.

The dissenting justices in the Louisville-Seattle case misunderstood this point as well, arguing that residential segregation was mostly the result of private choices and didn’t require a federal remedy. This line of thinking has hampered efforts to desegregate schools. It also misunderstands the true causes of segregation and how it persists to this day.

What is de facto segregation?

De facto segregation is separation that happens because of fact or circumstance rather than legally imposed requirements. It can be seen in housing and public education.

For example, the concentration of Blacks in certain neighborhoods often results in neighborhood schools that are mostly black – they’re segregated in practice (de facto) but not by law (de jure). This is why school choice programs are being used to try to desegregate our communities.

But residential segregation is not a mere accident; twentieth century federal, state and local policies explicitly enforced racial segregation in metropolitan areas, and their effects continue to this day. For instance, banks systematically “redlined” mortgage loans, refusing to give them to black homeowners in white neighborhoods, thus contributing to the ghettos’ deterioration.

What is the role of the federal government?

For a brief period after the Brown decision, all three branches of the federal government worked cooperatively to bring about school desegregation. Two provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided a jump-start to the process: the court could sue schools that were not complying with Brown, and federal funding would not be automatically available to segregated institutions.

However, the Supreme Court never established how quickly and in what way school desegregation should happen, beyond saying that it must be carried out with “all deliberate speed.” Further, a series of lower court rulings began to limit the extent to which integration should occur. These included Milliken v. Bradley, which limited interdistrict remedies, and Freeman v. Pitts, which allowed schools to be released from court order even if they were not fully desegregated.

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