You would think segregation was a thing of the past but in Cleveland, Mississippi, that isn’t the case. Check out what these black students are saying about allowing white kids to come to their schools.
By Dave Jolly
On Monday, I shared some of the history behind the famous Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in the Plessy v. Ferguson case which legalized segregation in public schools.
For the next 50 years many areas of the United States used the Plessy decision and the ‘separate but equal’ doctrines to employ racial segregation in many public venues including the public schools. There were separate schools for whites and blacks. In towns like Topeka, Kansas, black school children would often have to travel long distances to reach a black school when a white school was close by.
Civil rights activist and many blacks wanted to end the racial segregation so that their kids could attend the supposedly superior white schools and receive a better education. At the spurring of the NAACP, 13 families tried to enroll their kids in white schools in 1950’s Topeka, Kansas. One of those families were the Browns and since they were alphabetically first, the case came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education.
On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court issued its historic ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case. In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the high court declared that the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine and Jim Crow laws were indeed a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:
“Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of Negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system… We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
You would expect that there wouldn’t be any segregated schools left in American today, but there are. In fact, their numbers have been increasing.
One of those segregated schools in East High School in Cleveland, Mississippi. The town is geographically divided by railroad tracks that run almost through the middle of town. The population on the east side of the tracks is predominantly black while the west side of the tracks is mixed with white and black.
CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller spoke to some of the students from East High. One was Deshambra Fields and her brother Quoindedrick:
Miller: “So you think they should not desegregate these schools?”
Deshambra: “No, ma’am.”
Quoindedrick: “It’s this side of the highway versus that side of the highway. And it’s just — it’s been a rival for a long time.”
The same sentiments were given by many of the East High students. Not only are the East High students against being bused across town to a another school, they really don’t want whites attending their school. They fear having a minority white population at their school could lead to tensions and fights from both blacks and whites.