Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Segregated Schools

In Cleveland, Mississippi it has taken five decades for African- Americans students to no longer be required to attend segregated schools.  A federal court has accepted a settlement with the Cleveland School District, under which the district's high schools and middle schools will be consolidated to accommodate all district children.

The Federal District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi last year ordered the school district to desegregate its school system.  The district appealed the ruling, thereby perpetuating a prolonged legal battle that began when black parents sued the schools on behalf of 131 "Negro children" in 1965.

The school district relented and the federal court approved the following settlement: "After careful consideration, the board unanimously voted to end the appeal as it felt moving forward with a solid plan would serve the district, its students, faculty, parents and the community best in the long run.  As the district moves forward, it will continue to utilize the ideas generated by a multiracial advisory panel made up of parents and community members."

Jamie Jacks, an attorney for the school district is proud of the strides Cleveland has made over the years.  One measure involved the establishment of neighborhood schools that allowed students to pick which school they wanted to attend.  Many black students opted to attend East Side, because of the school’s reputation for athletics, and their parents had gone to East Side.   In fact, Jacks pointed to testimony during the case that showed Cleveland's schools were more integrated than those in Kansas City, Missouri, Fulton County, Georgia, Dallas and Denver.

The Justice Department's civil rights division had reviewed or intervened in more than 100 school district cases since 2000, at least 30 of them involving race and at least seven of them, including Cleveland’s were classified as "longstanding segregation" cases.


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