Black Americans faced enforced segregation and insufficient access to basic facilities of housing, education, and other opportunities even after slavery was abolished. Instead, the long history of slavery culture in the southern states and discrimination faced by Americans in Northern states impacted this segregation significantly. Also, according to Hanes et al. (2007), the segregation of black and whites was present before the approval of Jim Crow laws at the end of the 18th century Reconstruction Era. Therefore, a struggle began by black Americans to end this segregation and provide equal access to basic facilities despite many kinds of discrimination.
In this regard, a campaign was successfully executed by the African Americans in Boston in 1782 against discrimination and inequality in the public schools despite paying the same amount of taxes. A case was reported in Topeka, Kansas, when a school child Linda Brown, who was seven years old, was not permitted to attend any white school there. This initiated a severe backlash in the community and a complete showdown in Little Rock, Arkansas to such an extent that President Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed forces to ensure the admission of black children in the white schools after they were officially rejected by Governor Orval Faubus. However, the segregation of black children was ultimately regarded as unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 (Orfield, 2001). But the South did not accept the Court’s decision for the next decade (Orfield, 2001).
Therefore, the school integrations were not successful on a large scale due to a lack of sincere efforts of the states and districts until the Civil Rights Act was passed by the prominent efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and resulting protests in 1964 that outlawed the discrimination and segregation completely. Thus, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, school integration efforts were at their peak that ultimately transitioned the most segregated South region into the most integrated region (Reardon & Owens, 2014).
Hanes, R. C., Hanes, S. M., Rudd, K., & Hermsen, S. (2007). Prejudice in the modern world : Volume 2. Volume 2. Almanac (Vol. 2). U-X-L/Thomson Gale.
Orfield, G. (2001). Schools More Separate: Consequences of a Decade of Resegregation. Harvard Civil Rights Project. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5cx838jx#article_main
Reardon, S. F., & Owens, A. (2014). 60 Years AfterBrown: Trends and Consequences of School Segregation. Annual Review of Sociology, 40(1), 199–218. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071913-043152