The Resegregation of Jefferson County

September 06, 2017

By Nikole Hannah-Jones

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Evidence shows that Haikala has reason to be concerned. A 2011 Stanford University study showed that a wave of resegregation has flowed across the South as courts have released school districts from their desegregation orders. An example of just this sort of resegregation existed not even 70 miles down Interstate 20, in Tuscaloosa. After years of resistance, the Legal Defense Fund and the Justice Department managed to integrate most of the city’s schools by the late 1980s — every black and white student in Grades 6-12 attended the same middle and high school. That success led to the closing of the court order in 2000, and then Tuscaloosa officials, freed from judicial oversight, immediately set about resegregating the schools. Tuscaloosa is now among the most rapidly resegregated school systems in the country, with large numbers of its black students spending their entire public-school education in schools that made it look as if the Brown v. Board of Education decision never happened. U.S. Department of Education data shows that segregated black schools receive inferior resources just as they did before 1954.

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