Schools in Transition

Schools in Transition: Community Experiences in Desegregation

ROBIN M. WILLIAMS
MARGARET W. RYAN
Copyright Date: 1954
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9780807879757_williams
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Schools in Transition
    Book Description:

    This volume is of great practical value for it is a series of case studies of communities that have made the change-over from biracial public schools to integrated systems. The experience of these communities offers the best available guide to the solution of problems that will face southern communities.A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

    eISBN: 978-0-8078-3804-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Robin M. Williams Jr. and Margaret W. Ryan
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Harry S. Ashmore

    On may 17, 1954, the supreme court of the united states wrote an end to an era in American education. Before that date the Court had interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution to mean that the several states could educate whites and Negroes separately, provided the facilities made available for the purpose were substantially equal—and seventeen of the forty-eight states, including all those where Negroes were largely concentrated, had required or permitted racial segregation in their public schools. But from May 17 forward, the Court proclaimed, no American could be denied admission to a public educational institution solely...

  5. PART I The Background
    • CHAPTER 1 What Desegregation Means
      (pp. 3-20)

      The material presented in this book relates to one aspect of public school education in the United States: the acceleration of change from a racially segregated to an integrated system. The approach is not that of theory nor of consideration of national politics related to the subject. Rather it represents the actual experiences in twenty-four communities in six states which, since the end of World War II, have moved from some measure of segregation to a system in which Negro and white children attend the same schools. These community studies represent in part a stock-taking, a factual account of what...

    • CHAPTER 2 State Laws Set Limits
      (pp. 21-32)

      The recent Supreme Court decision against segregation in the public schools places this chapter in its proper historical perspective: a review of the way in which some states handled this particular aspect of public school education in the decade before the reversal of the “separate but equal” doctrine laid down by thePlessycase more than a half century earlier.

      The community studies are grouped in two main classes, on the basis of whether the state law was mandatory or permissive concerning the policy to be followed by the local school authorities as to segregation or integration of the schools....

  6. PART II Desegregation Required
    • CHAPTER 3 The Gradual Approach: Cincinnati, Ohio
      (pp. 35-48)

      Cincinnati has a longer continuous history of interracial schools than any other community included in this study. Not only the Ohio Equal Rights Law of 1887¹ but also the city’s own policy prohibit compulsory segregation of public school students. However, this present and prevailing policy of maintaining one integrated school system has not always been enforced. The fact of prior segregation makes the recent successful experience with an integrated system in this large industrial city worthy of note by other communities in which—even as in Cincinnati—the people also may have ambivalent feelings toward public school desegregation. At times...

    • CHAPTER 4 Variation Under the Law: Indianapolis and Other Indiana Communities
      (pp. 49-79)

      This chapter focuses on the state of Indiana—a keystone area connecting Middle West and South. Major interest here attaches to the case study of the metropolitan center of Indianapolis, a city where industrial patterns combine with rural heritage, where one can walk through areas in which the voices heard carry the familiar accents of Kentucky, Tennessee, and points east and south. Along with the example of Indianapolis will be seen something of how movement toward integration has affected a number of other Indiana communities, smaller in size but no less important in illuminating some basic American problems.

      Particularly worth...

    • CHAPTER 5 Community in Chaos: Cairo, Illinois
      (pp. 80-110)

      At first glance the story of Cairo might—almost—be taken as a portrait of any number of communities farther south. Certainly Cairo identifies itself as Southern in its attitudes, sentiments, mores. But it cannot be assumed to fit traditional stereotypes of Southern patterns: it is a portrait of a unique community–a city whose people and institutions are best understood as a phase growing out of the past. One’s first impression is a picture of extremes: little economic security, much crisis, much prejudice and submission.

      It was not the purpose of any of the studies reported in this book...

    • CHAPTER 6 Reaction to Shock: Gary and South Bend, Indiana
      (pp. 111-119)

      These two Indiana cities will be discussed separately here because they share some characteristics not common to the other Indiana communities in this sample. Each met the problem of desegregation before the enactment of state legislation and at a period in its history when the Negro population was increasing rapidly. Each has moved decisively to make integrated schools a fully realized fact rather than a token gesture, and each has had the help of both school personnel and community groups in the study of human relations.

      In Gary integration was hastened by school strikes during 1945-1946. With the exception of...

    • CHAPTER 7 Toward Integration: Camden, Atlantic City, Burlington, and Salem, New Jersey
      (pp. 120-154)

      New Jersey provides in microcosm a picture of many facets of race relations of the nation—the points of cleavage and agreement between Northern and Southern policies, the myriad variations in specific practices within each of these. For the present period of accelerated change in the basic patterns of public education in the nation, it is especially illuminating to look at the developments in a state where the interplay of social forces considered “Southern” and “Northern” are apparent, and where the lower half of the state has usually followed Southern traditions and customs (and in some cases, laws) in shaping...

  7. PART III Desegregation Permitted
    • CHAPTER 8 Initial Hesitation: Phoenix, Douglas, and Nogales, Arizona; Mount Holly, New Jersey
      (pp. 157-172)

      Moving from New Jersey to the Southwest, desegregation appears in a different legal and social context. In Arizona the permissive nature of the 1951 state law left the decision on integration up to the local school authorities. This chapter will focus on the resistances, their basis in fact and fiction, and their diminution in a short time.

      However, the pattern illustrated in Arizona is a social, not a geographic, fact. Bracketed with Arizona, therefore, is a community in New Jersey, Mount Holly. Even under a mandatory law this community developed what seemed to be intractable resistance to desegregation. Both Phoenix...

    • CHAPTER 9 Patterns of Adjustment: Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Roswell, New Mexico
      (pp. 173-197)

      The only communities in New Mexico which have ever taken the option offered by the permissive nature of the state law to maintain segregated schools have been located in the southeastern section of the state, near Texas and the Mexican border. The area has sometimes been called “little Texas” partly in recognition of the prevalence here of “Southern” attitudes and patterns of behavior in race relations. The six communities included in this survey illustrate the variations within this segregated pattern and the different methods employed in the initial desegregation process. Each of the communities has a distinctly individual character, each...

    • CHAPTER 10 Response to the Supreme Court Decision: Hobbs and Clovis, New Mexico
      (pp. 198-219)

      These two towns are situated very close to the Texas border, Hobbs to the south, Clovis to the south-central border of New Mexico. Both are trading centers for many of the ranches of west Texas, and Clovis has even been the school center for children from near-by rural areas of Texas.

      The school administrations in both towns had discussed the problem of desegregating the public schools, as much because of the expense of maintaining accredited junior and senior high schools for a very small number of Negro students, as because of the possible implications of the cases before the Supreme...

    • CHAPTER 11 Mission Accomplished: Tucson, Arizona
      (pp. 220-230)

      The story of the integration of the Tucson public schools centers around a man who worked toward this goal for a number of years, steadily and with increasing support from individuals and organizations in the city. The last step, dramatic as it may have seemed to be under a permissive law, was but the culmination of these years of preparation.

      Almost 100,000 people live in the Tucson area, 45,454 of them in the city proper in 1950. In the city itself about 6 per cent of the people are Negro, 20 per cent Spanish-American, and there are an appreciable number...

  8. PART IV Implications for the Future
    • CHAPTER 12 In Summary: Review and Prelude
      (pp. 233-248)

      In reviewing the experiences of the twenty-four communities reported on here, the following questions arise: What clues do they offer to other communities that soon may need to prepare plans concerning desegregation? Do they give any indication of the types of problems involved or the most acceptable solutions found to them?

      A most striking immediate impression of an enormous range of different solutions and experiences is created by the examination of these communities from New Jersey to Arizona. Variety seems to be the keynote; local responsibility and control in the public schools are again vividly illustrated. The complexity of forces...

  9. Appendices
    (pp. 249-262)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-264)
  11. Index
    (pp. 265-274)