School Segregation Problem in the United States

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “segregation” is the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment. Segregation was prevalent throughout the United States, particularly in schools. Racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional, but community and district lines were often to blame. One example of segregation in the community was the case of Plessy v. Ferguson; this involved Homer A. Plessy, who was part Black, and John H. Ferguson. In Louisiana, there was a law requiring the separation of Whites and African Americans in different train cars.

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In 1892, when Plessy, who was an African American working with other African Americans, boarded a train, the company realized that Plessy was in the wrong carriage. Plessy refused to leave the White car and move to the African American car, leading to his arrest for disobeying and breaking the law. This took place on May 18, 1896, in Louisiana and went all the way to the Supreme Court. Plessy argued that his equal rights under the law were denied, which led him to challenge the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment defines citizenship: in simplified terms, all persons born in the United States or naturalized cannot be denied of any rights and privileges contained in the Constitution. The civil rights movement was launched during the 1950s and 60s.

The Civil Rights movement aimed to achieve equal rights under the law for African Americans. As part of this movement, lawyers and students challenged segregation in court. The cases of Brown v. Board of Education and Taylor v. Board of Education addressed school segregation extensively in both the North and the South.

Oliver Brown, an African American church minister, had a seven-year-old daughter. To get to school, his daughter had to travel many miles and cross a railway track. There was a school near Oliver’s house, but he wasn’t able to send her there because it was an all-White school. The NAACP became the primary party in this situation. A team of NAACP attorneys brought a case against the Board of Education.

A decision was made that freed whites as well as blacks, and thus, there was a reason to celebrate. These sources highlighted what life was like before this case and the result and celebration after its impact. Some impacts of this case included the ending of “separate but equal” and schools began integrating students.

Then came Taylor vs. Board of Education. During the 1960s, there was a protest from African American students that went to Lincoln School. This school was operated by the Board of Education of New Rochelle. With an enrollment of around 94% Blacks, the Board of Education racially segregated the school, violating the 14th Amendment and employing gerrymandering. Through this, whites were excluded and allowed to go to other schools like Webster or Mayflower. The board continued segregating until this case was brought to court. This was reported in the newspapers at that time: Folsom, Merrill. “Negro Principal Rebuffs Negroes.” New York Times, 16 Sept. 1960. The article shared that the schools refused to enroll thirteen Negro pupils. Lincoln was to be replaced by a 1,300,000 structure, and the Negro parents went on strike because of racial imbalance. Historians had much to say about this conflict. “The Inheritance.” The Inheritance, by Samuel G. Freedman, Simon & Schuster, 1996, pp. 152–153. The book stated that the “Little Rock of the North” in New Rochelle manifested a black slum of “squad dwellings without sanitary facilities.” Plans to knock down the current Lincoln School, a relic from 1898, and build a new school brought about violent opposition in New Rochelle. An eyewitness, Dr. Clish, stated “I do not believe in playing God and sorting people according to race, color, and creed. The abolition of our school districts could be redistributed according to color would be un-American.” New Rochelle wasn’t violent during this time, but they shared their opinions in numerous ways, including through protests. Folsom, Merrill. “Negro Principal Rebuffs Negroes.” New York Times, 16 Sept. 1960.

According to the United States District Court. Taylor v. Board of Education of City School District. Federal Supplement; Volume 191, 1961. The court concluded that the Board of Education of New Rochelle created the school in order to segregate by gerrymandering of district lines and transfers of whites. Some long-term impacts include ending “separate but equal,” Blacks gaining more equality, and segregation being slowed.

In conclusion, according to the cases of Brown v. Board of Education and Taylor v. Board of Education, the United States addressed school segregation to a significant extent in the North as well as the South. The United States addressed both cases properly, ending “separate but equal” and slowing segregation in public facilities. Everyone was pleased with the court’s decisions in the end. However, until today, not all schools in New Rochelle have achieved integration. For example, at New Rochelle High School, there are minor issues that make the school somewhat separate, as with most schools in New Rochelle or anywhere in the country. Nationality, for the most part, segregation in public facilities is gone, and there’s integration, but there are always minor things that tend to separate people. Without the United States addressing this situation comprehensively, life wouldn’t be the same today.

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School Segregation Problem in the United States. (2021, Apr 10). Retrieved from