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Cleveland, Mississippi Schools Ordered to Desegregate
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Cleveland Mississippi

Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Visit Cleveland.

Summary: Cleveland, Mississippi has been ordered to desegregate its middle and high schools.

After nearly fifty years of fighting, the federal government has finally ordered the Mississippi town of Cleveland to desegregate. This will be the first time the black and white students will be integrated in the district’s century-long history.


In Cleveland, the middle and high schools were essentially divided by black and white. D.M. Smith Middle School was mostly all-black and Margaret Junior High School was mostly white. Oftentimes when schools appear to be mostly one race, it can be reasoned because of location, but Cleveland was a small town with a population of only 12,000.

In court, black and white students testified that the white schools were known to provide a better education and that there was a stigma attached to the black schools.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi found the district to be performing a “dual-system,” similar to the outlawed “separate but equal” stance of the past; and they deemed the practice to be unconstitutional.

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“This victory creates new opportunities for the children of Cleveland to learn, play and thrive together,” the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta said.

The school must consolidate the two middle schools and the two high schools in order to integrate.

This decision comes sixty years after the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education, which challenged the idea of “separate but equal” schools.

The school district did not respond to the New York Times’ request for comment.

So what do you think? Are you surprised there is still segregation in schools in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: New York Times


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