From Statehood to School Desegregation: Racial Disparities in the Public Education of Mississippi, 1817 - 1969
- Dixon, LaTanya L. (Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education)
AbstractOn the 50th year anniversary of Alexander v. Holmes Board of Education (1969) nationally enforcing school desegregation in fall 1970, Mississippi is being sued for racial disparities in public education between Black students and White students in Williams et al. v. Bryant et al. (2017). Williams et al. v. Bryant et al. claims the current racial inequality in education is a violation of the post-Civil War Readmission Act (1868) requirement to provide a “uniform system of free public schools” (Williams et al. v. Bryant et al., 2017, p. 3) and to not modify state laws to disadvantage a group of citizens. Using quantitative and qualitative primary sources, I investigate the extent to which Mississippi administered racial disparities in public education between Black students and White students from its statehood in 1817 through school desegregation. To the extent that research suggests school desegregation “failed to narrow educational gaps or alter the educational status of most Blacks” (Baker, 2001, p. 321) and parental education can influence a student’s education outcomes, Black parents in Williams et al. v. Bryant et al. fighting for racial equality in education for their children in segregated schools two generations after Black parents in Alexander v. Holmes fought for school desegregation to produce racial equality in education suggests the history of racial disparities in the public education of Mississippi is contemporarily salient.
The data in the study show Mississippi amended its laws and reformed its educational practices to (a) deny Black slaves access to education; (b) delay the consolidation of Black schools; (c) require Black Mississippians to pay the highest percentage of the cost for the construction of their schools; (d) distribute school funding unequally; (e) permit elementary school attrition; (f) repeal its compulsory attendance law. These barriers were enacted to resist school desegregation and to prevent high school education in an overall effort to maintain a pre-Civil War racial hierarchy.
Is version of
Dixon, LaTanya L. “From Statehood to School Desegregation: Racial Disparities in the Public Education of Mississippi, 1817 – 1969.” AERA Open 6, no. 4 (December 4, 2020): 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858420975396.
- ID: 10.1177/2332858420975396 (DOI)
Update Metadata: 2020-11-28 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-11-28