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June, 2004
The Journal of American History

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The Costs of Brown: Black Teachers and School Integration

Adam Fairclough

Beginning with Vanessa Siddle Walker's 1996 history of a high school in Caswell County, North Carolina, a stream of studies have documented African American schools that were forced to close or lost their identities when desegregation engulfed the South. The dominant tone of those works is elegiac; far from celebrating the departure of segregated schools, they lament their loss. Once stigmatized as symbols of Jim Crow and engines of educational failure, the black schools of the era before Brown v. Board of Education (1954) are now portrayed as proud institutions that provided black communities with cohesion and leadership. Their teachers, it is argued, inspired and motivated generations of African American children. Virtually absent from this literature is the central assertion of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) brief in Brown—which was accepted by the Supreme Court and central to its judgment—that segregated schools generated feelings of inferiority in the children who attended them.1 1
      The notion that integration destroyed something uniquely valuable to African Americans in the South has been powerfully influenced by memories of and about black teachers. Graduates of segregated schools have testified to the commitment and skill that those men and women brought to the classroom in the era of Jim Crow. They recall that segregation encouraged a special sense of dedication in black teachers that helped compensate for the material deficiencies of the schools. "I didn't feel I was getting an inferior education," recalled the former teacher Louise Metoyer Bouise, who attended public schools in New Orleans during the 1920s and 1930s. "In fact, I am sure I had very good teachers." Even in the crude, two-room schoolhouse that she attended in rural North Carolina, insisted Mildred Oakley Page, another retired teacher, "anyone who wanted to learn could learn." As described in teachers' memoirs and oral history interviews, black schools were places where order prevailed, where teachers commanded respect, and where parents supported the teachers. Teachers, pupils, and parents formed an organic community that treated schooling as a collective responsibility.2 2
      Former teachers have often questioned whether the benefits of Brown outweighed its costs. When interviewed in 1994, a retired high school principal from New Iberia, Louisiana, bitterly concluded, "When they desegregated secondary schools in this parish, they threw the blacks back a hundred years." At about the same time, a former teacher from Prince Edward County, Virginia, flatly asserted that "if we had stayed separate, but equal, our children would have been better off educationally." Much earlier, in 1977 Horace Tate, the respected former head of the black Georgia Teachers and Education Association, offered a more qualified view but arrived at a similar conclusion. Before integration, he recalled, black teachers commanded little respect from whites. They made do with hand-me-down textbooks, taught a limited curriculum, and worked in grossly inadequate school facilities. Nevertheless, although blacks enjoyed superior buildings, an expanded curriculum, and better equipment after integration, Tate doubted that the overall quality of education had improved at all. In the environment of the segregated school, teachers enjoyed close relationships with their pupils based on empathy with the individual child and an intimate knowledge of the black community, enabling them to motivate their charges. Integration destroyed that relationship by undermining the position of the teacher as a mentor, role model, and disciplinarian. It caused a loss of interest in learning on the part of black pupils. "Leaving us alone to teach our children ... may not have been such a bad idea," thought Tate.3 3

Figure 1
    A segregated school in White Plains, Georgia, 1941. African American teachers and students grappled with inadequate facilities, forming bonds that benefited intellectual and community development. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34-046234-D DLC.

      The postintegration literature on segregated schools, often celebratory and sometimes hagiographic, must be treated with caution. First, some of the changes that teachers regretted were occurring in public schools everywhere and had little connection with integration. For example, former teachers interviewed in the 1990s pointed to a deterioration of classroom discipline, but they readily acknowledged that in their own time schools used corporal punishment to enhance teachers' authority. "They would beat the living stew out of you," recalled the educator Emmett W. Bashful of his school days in Baton Rouge in the 1920s and 1930s. But corporal punishment, once a common practice among all teachers, has fallen into disfavor and has virtually disappeared from American classrooms. Similarly, the decline in the status of both black and white teachers is attributable to a variety of factors—notably the expansion of white-collar employment and changing attitudes toward professionals—among which integration is relatively unimportant.4 4
      In the second place, although black teachers deeply resented the charge that Jim Crow schools had been havens for incompetent teachers—a criticism made by both supporters and opponents of integration—it is nevertheless true that systematic discrimination had left many black teachers, especially older ones, ill educated and poorly trained. In their more candid moments, some teachers conceded as much and argued that the shake-out caused by integration might raise standards. J. Rupert Picott, the longtime spokesman for black teachers in Virginia, argued in 1960 that poorly motivated teachers had been holding black children back, saying "To speak frankly, as long as Negroes make low scores on tests, we shall be branded as inferior." A teachers' leader in Louisiana urged black principals to "brutally remove, or at least censure," incompetent teachers, arguing that blacks "only wanted honest teaching in our classrooms, which they had not been having."5 5
      There is a third and more profound reason to doubt that segregated schools were as effective as the memories of former teachers might lead one to believe. Teachers are usually people whose own experiences of schooling have been positive. Writing in the 1930s and 1940s, however, social scientists such as Charles S. Johnson, E. Franklin Frazier, John Dollard, and Allison Davis found that many blacks associated schools with failure, not with success. Although their studies offered little evidence for Brown's contention that state-imposed segregation per se encouraged feelings of inferiority, they suggested that African American teachers often favored middle-class children and discriminated against those of darker complexion. "The effect," wrote Frazier, "has been to increase the sense of inferiority and insecurity, particularly among pupils from the lower class."6 6
      It would be a mistake, however, to dismiss the reminiscences of black teachers that stress the virtues of segregated schools as merely nostalgic and self-serving. There are much deeper reasons why so many black teachers in the South were ambivalent about, or even hostile to, school integration. Those reasons concern the central role that schools played in the formation and growth of black communities during the century following emancipation. There is no doubt that in shattering the legal basis of white supremacy, Brown opened up new opportunities for black advancement. But desegregation also abolished, or at least radically transformed, an anchor of the southern black community. It exacted costs—institutional, economic, and psychological—of which black teachers paid more than their fair share. 7
      In a seminal article published thirty years ago, Howard N. Rabinowitz documented how, in the late nineteenth century, African Americans in southern cities demanded that school boards appoint only black teachers to the public schools attended by black children. On one level those campaigns, successful in most cities, can be interpreted as a logical consequence of Reconstruction, which destroyed any lingering hope of integration. Blacks reasoned that because whites insisted on a color line, justice and logic required the removal of white teachers from black schools. For example, in an 1875 petition to the school board of Petersburg, Virginia, members of Gillfield Baptist Church argued that blacks paid their share of taxation and had "an indisputable right to a thorough share of the patronage of the Common School Fund." The Petersburg petitioners added, with evident anger, that if whites justified segregation on the basis that racial mixing was "contaminating" to whites—a view reinforced by school boards' refusals to employ black teachers in white schools—the same logic should prohibit whites from teaching blacks. To some extent, blacks regarded the replacement of white teachers with black ones as the best bargain that could be struck under an unjust system of racial segregation.7 8
      To interpret the demand for black teachers as a reluctant trade-off for segregated schools, however, is to misunderstand its basic dynamic. From the earliest days of freedom, many blacks asked for black teachers and, when given a choice, patronized teachers of their own race rather than white teachers. It is true that Radical Reconstruction caused the possibility of integrated schools to be debated at the Republican-dominated conventions that drafted new state constitutions. But only in New Orleans, which had a large population of free-born Creoles, did blacks make a serious effort to create an integrated public school system. For the most part, a powerful ethnocentricity enabled freedmen to accept single-race schools as natural and desirable. Their preference for black teachers articulated a dislike of native white teachers, especially former Confederates, who displayed prejudice against black children. But blacks sometimes rejected northern white teachers as well. The preference for black instructors was an affirmation of racial solidarity at a time when freedmen were building distinct communities and seeking freedom from white control. Schools, like churches, were pillars of those emerging communities. Just as freedmen preferred black preachers, they often preferred black teachers.8 9
      There was a difference, of course, between the separateness of black churches, formed through the private actions of African Americans who voluntarily quit white churches, and that of black public schools, which were separate because whites rejected "racial mixing" and legislated segregation. In practice, however, that distinction was not clear-cut. In rural areas, public schools were quasi-private institutions. All that a school board provided was a teacher's salary for three or four months, while community initiative built and supplied the schoolhouse and supplemented the teacher's pay. Moreover, black schools and black churches were often closely linked; the church served as the schoolhouse, and the preacher was also the teacher. For most African Americans, integration was an irrelevant abstraction. Like churches, the public schools acted as agencies of race sentiment and community identity. "I suppose all southern people know the effect that churches and school-houses have upon the colored people in keeping and bringing them together," testified a Louisiana Republican in 1877.9 10
      The most uncompromising advocates of black independence in both religion and education were the black-controlled Methodist denominations. Arriving south in the wake of Union armies, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) missionaries such as Henry McNeal Turner, Richard H. Cain, and Theophilus G. Steward proclaimed that they, as fellow blacks, were the natural leaders of the freedmen. "We come to seek those who are our brethren by virtue of race," explained Steward, "not because we care anything for races or nations, but because they have been and are yet in great measure our brethren in affliction." The missionaries insisted that blacks should teach and minister to the freedmen. Addressing the North Carolina constitutional convention in 1869, Bishop James Walker Hood of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church laid out the case for replacing white teachers with blacks. "It is impossible for white teachers, educated as they necessarily are in this country, to enter into the feelings of colored pupils as the colored teacher does.... I do not think that it is good for our children to eat and drink daily the sentiment that they are naturally inferior to the whites, which they do in three-fourths of all the schools where they have white teachers."10 11
      As the black missionaries fanned out into the hinterlands of Georgia and the Carolinas, they organized both schools and churches, which often met in the same building. Baptist preachers also regarded schools as adjuncts of their churches. Hence, because schools were vital to the success of their religious goals, Baptist and Methodist ministers often treated white teachers from the North, however well intentioned, as just as much a threat to their leadership as openly prejudiced southern whites. The fact that black preachers and teachers often served as political leaders strengthened the links between schools and churches within black communities. As a Louisiana Democrat explained to a congressional committee in 1877, the freedmen "mix up in their churches religion, school, and politics."11 12
      Toward the end of the nineteenth century, as racial proscription reinforced race consciousness, a strong sense of providential mission promoted the belief that God had given educated blacks the duty of redeeming their race from ignorance and degradation. As the North Carolina teacher and missionary Joseph C. Price put it, "Although every page of [our history] from 1620 to 1863 was written in blood and tears, it was the carrying out of a divine plan." The work of enlightening "darkened intellects" and "blunted morals" therefore fell to the "Africo-Americans whose training fits them for teachers and leaders." The notion that black teachers should educate black children also acquired a pedagogical justification. The teaching methods employed by whites were ineffective, argued the veteran Georgia educator Richard R. Wright, because blacks possessed distinctive "mental, moral and physical constitutions." Hence "the environments of the American Negro" made the education of blacks "the peculiar work of colored teachers only." Others emphasized that blacks had to cease relying on whites if they were to develop racial pride and acquire the ability to stand on their own two feet. "We need more of an independent, self-reliant air," proclaimed the North Carolina teacher E. A. Johnson. "Away with fawning, away with humility, away grinners when white men speak." By 1920 both New Orleans and Charleston had bowed to black demands to employ black teachers. The South's public teaching force became entirely segregated.12 13
      Thus, for the approximately ninety years from emancipation through Brown, blacks in the South sought to improve their schools within the framework of segregation by pursuing a patient but determined strategy of institution building. Black teachers led that effort, and segregation provided them with prestige within the community and a measure of economic benefit. 14
      Much changed during that period, of course. After disfranchisement, black teachers ceased to be political leaders. As sectarianism declined and educational bureaucracies grew, the links between black churches and black schools weakened. By 1940 most black-controlled private schools (many of them Baptist institutions) had either closed or been taken over by school boards. And as black public schools received a greater share of public funds, community fund raising, although still important, became less vital. Meanwhile teachers, still the backbone of the black middle class in numerical terms, were increasingly well educated and well organized. Many belonged to state professional associations, and in a few cities, including Chattanooga, Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans, they formed local unions of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).13 15
      Nevertheless, the sense that black communities "owned" their public schools remained strong. Communities also "owned" their teachers in that they expected them not only to educate children but also to engage in social work, public health campaigns, racial uplift, and interracial diplomacy. In addition, school trustees continued to subject teachers to moral oversight. Finally, teachers were still expected to retain an old-fashioned sense of missionary idealism. "They must be dominated by a passion for service, motivated by a love for humanity, and guided by the ideals of the Master Teacher," explained Ambrose Caliver, who represented the cause of blacks inside the U.S. Office of Education during the 1930s. "In the hands of the Negro teachers rests the destiny of the race." However, as the historian Michael Fultz has pointed out, black teachers could not possibly fulfill all those demands and expectations. It was hardly surprising that teachers suffered a loss of prestige during the civil rights movement.14 16
      When the NAACP launched its legal attack on segregated public education, it looked to black teachers for support and, in many cases, received it. Waged from the mid-1930s to the late 1940s, the campaign to equalize the salaries of black and white teachers drew the various black teachers' associations into formal alliances with theNAACP. The alliances spurred the NAACP's expansion in the South and paved the way for a direct challenge to the principle of segregation. When the NAACP shifted its goal from equalization to integration, however, it placed its alliance with black teachers under severe strain. 17
      The national leadership of the NAACP knew full well that integration would jeopardize the livelihoods of black teachers. Even in the North, many cities had made the employment of black teachers dependent on the maintenance of de facto segregated schools. The merger of dual school systems in the South would mean fewer teaching positions, and black teachers would almost certainly bear the brunt of those job losses. TheNAACP tried to reassure black teachers, arguing that integration would be unlikely to cause large-scale job losses in the long term. It also created a Department of Teacher Information and Security, headed by the former president of West Virginia State College, John W. Davis, to protect teachers from intimidation and unfair dismissal.15 18
      Nonetheless, as it pressed home its attack on segregated schools in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the NAACP's sympathy for black teachers was limited. Its leaders recognized that integration would exact a cost but believed that job losses might not be wholly bad if they weeded out incompetent teachers. They also believed that integration called for individual and collective sacrifices; personal interests should be subordinated to the greater good. The lawyer Oliver Hill called for "religious zeal" in the pursuit of integration and urged teachers to ignore the threat of dismissal. Charles H. Thompson, the ardently integrationist editor of the Journal of Negro Education, invoked the "onward march of progress" and insisted that the elimination of segregated schools "should outweigh in importance the loss of teaching positions." The attorney William Ming admitted that many black pupils might struggle to cope alongside better-prepared whites: "But of course there are fatalities in all social change."16 19
      The NAACP leaders also knew that their attack on segregation would disrupt the leadership patterns and economic arrangements that flourished under segregation. Yet the organization regarded that as no bad thing. Impatient with the conservatism of some black teachers, it regarded the subtle opposition of black college presidents as an intolerable block to racial progress. To win acceptance for its new strategy, theNAACP had to break down the idea that segregation offered safety, prestige, and economic benefit to a favored few. Walter White, the NAACP 's executive director, called upon southern blacks to "give up the little kingdoms that have been carved out ... for so-called land-grant colleges." But after the Supreme Court's 1938 decision in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, the presidents of some black colleges exploited white fear of integration to acquire graduate programs, professional schools, and the coveted title "university." TheNAACP 's integrationists were livid, branding such men narrow-minded reactionaries. Thurgood Marshall castigated "Negroes who would be willing to sell the race down the river" in order to benefit financially from a "Jim Crow University."17 20
      Most teachers fell into line, at least publicly, behind the NAACP's attack on segregation. But the NAACP's belief in exposing blacks to the bracing winds of interracial competition did little to assuage teachers' unease with the new strategy. The equalization tactic had produced striking results by 1950, as the southern states boosted spending on black schools and colleges. Many blacks could not see the advantage in abandoning it. Moreover, school integration had emerged as a realistic possibility with remarkable suddenness; it was a leap in the dark. TheNAACP 's leaders argued that white resistance to an integration decree from the Supreme Court would be short-lived, but members in the South feared a powerful white backlash. According to a study conducted in 1953, three-quarters of the black teachers in South Carolina wanted to continue working in a segregated system. Tuskegee Institute president Frederick Douglass Patterson warned theNAACP not to expect "a wave of enthusiasm" from black teachers if the Supreme Court struck down Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).18 21
      In the event, very few prominent black educators openly criticizedBrown. Black teachers' organizations endorsed the decision and continued to support theNAACP . In private, however, many teachers regarded the integrated future with foreboding. Acting with brutal precision, white ultrasegregationists exploited black teachers' economic vulnerability in order to attack theNAACP . With little job security in the best of times, teachers were now subjected to laws providing for their dismissal if they supported integration or any organization that advocated integration. And they were bluntly warned that in the event of integration, they would lose their jobs. Through their state associations, which had devised complicated banking arrangements to "launder" the money, teachers continued to make financial contributions to the nationalNAACP during the 1950s and early 1960s. They also lobbied the National Education Association (NEA) to endorse Brown and integrate its own ranks. In the South, however, the NAACP found its support among teachers draining away.19 22
      Black teachers were bullied into silence. Although a few refused to quit the NAACP and sacrificed their jobs, most let their memberships lapse. Some of the state teachers' associations ceased holding public discussions of Brown. "The degree of fear among Negro teachers is alarming," reported John W. Davis in 1955. Instead of supporting integration, many teachers were passive. In some cases they actively impeded theNAACP's efforts. In Alabama, for example, where a state court had banned the NAACP from operating, teachers refused to back Martin Luther King Jr.'s proposal for a lawsuit to integrate Montgomery's public schools. Teachers in Georgia were no more enthusiastic. In 1960 Lucius H. Pitts, the head of the Georgia Teachers and Education Association, assured the state superintendent of schools that his organization had "not made any effort nor will it in the foreseeable future make any effort to press for integration."20 23
      According to Mark V. Tushnet, Thurgood Marshall's biographer, most blacks in the South endorsed the NAACP's switch from equalization to integration. Such a view would make it easy to dismiss the opposition of many black teachers as the actions of a self-interested and unrepresentative group. It would also make it easy to attribute black parents' reluctance to press for integration to the chilling effect of white threats, economic reprisals, legal repression, and violence.21 24
      Looking back, however, the former NAACP attorney Constance Baker Motley believed that the NAACP had simply overestimated the extent to which blacks shared its uncompromising opposition to segregated schools. Neither fear nor apathy could account for the fact that "we didn't really get any real grass roots activity around school desegregation." After all, the entire black population of Montgomery boycotted segregated buses for more than a year, exhibiting remarkable courage and determination. The difference, Motley believed, lay in the fact that segregated schools did not generate the same burning resentment as segregated buses did. Schools were economic lifelines and community centers; the merits of equalization versus integration were finely balanced. In arguing the case for integration, Marshall had stressed the simple matter of obtaining better schools. As theNAACP found itself dragged through the mire of massive resistance, however, and as integration proceeded at a snail's pace or not at all, that pragmatic argument lost much of its force. Motley recalled, "More blacks would be saying in effect 'look, we want our kids in first-class education. You're not doing anything about it. It's moving too slowly.'"22 25
      When it finally took place, the wholesale merger of segregated school systems was a bruising process. Black teachers charged that white-controlled school boards unfairly targeted black teachers for dismissal. Teachers were fired "for nothing at all," asserted the Mississippi civil rights activist Winson Hudson. "They did not want black men working with their white students." In the event, teachers managed to halt many dismissals by suing school boards in federal court, with strong backing from theNEA and the NAACP . Although the number of black teachers displaced by integration has never been accurately quantified, it was far smaller than originally feared.23 26
      The main casualties of integration were the black schools and the men who had run them. Across the South, school boards closed black high schools, or, if they retained the buildings, converted them into junior highs. To add insult to injury, schools that had been named for black teachers or historical figures were given new names. Black principals were then demoted or given meaningless titles. In Alabama, the number of black principals declined from 210 to 57, in Virginia from 170 to 16. In the eyes of many blacks, the process of integration was tainted by the fact that "the power to control desegregation was placed in the hands of those who fought so hard to retain segregation." As the retired Louisiana high school principal Cyrus Jackson put it, "The powers that be ... said, 'The niggers want integration, but they're going to have integration on our terms.'"24 27
      Today, disillusionment with the public schools, reinforced by extensive resegregation, has encouraged a tendency to blame integration for weakening the black community. The notions that school desegregation has failed to benefit black children and that a return to single-race schools might be advantageous have gained widespread currency, even among civil rights veterans. Moreover, in an ironic echo of the late nineteenth century, the need for more black teachers has once again become a compelling issue for African Americans, many of whom deplore the decline in the proportion of black teachers when black enrollment in the nation's public schools has increased.25 28
      One should be wary of attributing the complex problems of today's public schools to the effects, intended or otherwise, of the Brown decision. Similarly, one must not equate the professional and class interests of black teachers with the collective advantage of African Americans. Nevertheless, black skepticism about integration is no new phenomenon. Because so much of the literature on Brown has been written from a staunchly prointegrationist position, historians have tended to overlook such skepticism, which sometimes shaded into outright opposition. When the economist Thomas Sowell argued that given the right mix of dedicated teachers and community support, racial segregation had never precluded the existence of high-performing black schools, it was easy to dismiss his views as the eccentric musings of a neoconservative, especially when he mixed praise of segregated schools with criticism of "Messianic movements" (including by implication the civil rights movement). Yet there is ample evidence to suggest that doubts about the benefits of the desegregation process were not confined to a relatively small group of black teachers or an even smaller group of black conservatives. In 1972, for example, anNAACP report documented the deep divisions within Louisiana's black communities. A field secretary for the association's Legal Defense Fund (LDEF) complained that in Natchitoches, "a parish [formerly] favorable to the program of the LDEF, you won't find a dozen people who will speak in favor of integrated public schools."26 29
      Expressing what is now a commonly held verdict, the historian David S. Cecelski argued that integration "devastated black educational leadership" and "undermined the school's traditional place in black society." That judgment, however, overlooks the extent to which the prestige enjoyed by black teachers during the Jim Crow era had been a function of black political powerlessness and the deliberate restriction of economic opportunity. Integration forced black teachers to adapt, and in some respects they came out stronger. When theNEA ordered the South's segregated teachers' associations to merge, blacks fought successfully to obtain guaranteed leadership positions within the integrated organizations for a transitional period. Although some teachers fought the merger to the bitter end—especially in Mississippi and Louisiana—most agreed that unity with white teachers would enhance their professional status and strengthen their bargaining power. In 1968 the North Carolina teacher Elizabeth Duncan Koontz became the first African American president of theNEA . Other teachers' leaders, such as Alphonse Jackson in Louisiana and Horace Tate in Georgia, went on to wield political power as elected officials.27 30
      That what one black teacher described as "the biggest trauma the South has known since Reconstruction" proceeded in such a chaotic, unplanned, and discriminatory fashion was scandalous. But the damaging repercussions of Brown testified to defects in the Constitution and to an abdication of responsibility on the part of the nation's political leaders; they did not vindicate the case for segregation. Given the politically entrenched character of white supremacy in the South, attacking school segregation through the Supreme Court may well have been the most effective way of undermining Jim Crow.28 31


Adam Fairclough is professor of American history at the University of East Anglia.
      I would like to thank Joanne Meyerowitz and the editorial staff of the Journal of American History, including Andrea Robinson, Donald Maxwell, and Debbie Kraus, for their help in the preparation, revision, and illustration of this article. An anonymous reviewer also made useful suggestions for which I am grateful. For support over the years while researching this topic, I wish to thank the National Humanities Center, the British Academy, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Spencer Foundation, and the University of East Anglia.
      Readers may contact Fairclough at <>.

1 Vanessa Siddle Walker, Their Highest Potential: An African American School Community in the Segregated South (Chapel Hill, 1996); Jodi Breckenridge Petit, "A Community That Cared: The Study of an All-Black School, E. E. Smith High School, Fayatteville, North Carolina, 1955–1969" (Ph.D. diss., University of Kansas, 1997); Joseph Michael Hathaway, "The Class of 1944 of Lincoln High School: Finding Excellence in a Black Segregated School" (Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1997); Anthony L. Edwards, "Booker T. Washington High School (1916–1974): Voices of Remembrance" (Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1998); Carter Julian Savage, "From Claiborne's Institute to Natchez High School: The History of African American Education in Williamson County, Tennessee, 1890–1967" (Ph.D. diss., Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, 1998); Enola Gay Smith Mosely, "Rediscovering Educational Giants: African American Schools in Bulloch County, Georgia, 1920–1949" (Ed.D. diss., Georgia Southern University, 1999); Winfred E. Pitts, "E. E. Butler High School, Desegregation, and the Gainesville City–Hall County, Georgia, Schools, 1821–1973" (Ph.D. diss., Georgia State University, 1999); Eugenia Fulcher Mills, "Dreams Do Come True: How Rural One- and Two-Room Schools Influenced the Lives of African Americans in Burke County, Georgia, 1930–1955" (Ed.D. diss., Georgia Southern University, 1999).

2 Louise Metoyer Bouise interview by Kate Ellis, June 20, 1994, audiotape, Behind the Veil Project (Special Collections, Duke University, Durham, N.C.); Mildred Oakley Page interview by Davis Dixon and Felicia Woods, June 1, 1995, audiotape, ibid. See also Raymond Gavins, "Fear, Hope, and Struggle: Recasting Black North Carolina in the Age of Jim Crow," in Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, ed. David S. Cecelski and Timothy B. Tyson (Chapel Hill, 1998), 195–202. Of the 1,100 interviews in the Behind the Veil collection, 367 were with men and women described as educators or teachers. For teachers' published memoirs, see, for example, Septima Poinsette Clark,Echo in My Soul (New York, 1962); Edmond Jefferson Oliver, The End of an Era: Fairfield Industrial High School, 1924–1968: The Profile of the History of a Negro High School, Its Principal, Its Students, and Its Value to the Community, State, and Nation (Fairfield, Ala., 1968); Dorothy Redus Robinson, The Bell Rings at Four: A Black Teacher's Chronicle of Change (Austin, 1978); Mamie Garvin Fields, Lemon Swamp and Other Places: A Carolina Memoir (New York, 1983); and Sarah Rice, He Included Me: The Autobiography of Sarah Rice (Athens, Ga., 1989).

3 J. B. Henderson interview by Michele Wallace, July 20, 1994, audiotape, tape 1, Behind the Veil Project; Geraldine Anthony Foster and Varita White Foster, Silent Triumph of Justice: Integration's Failure in Prince Edward County (Hampton, 1993), 16; Horace Tate interview by Warren G. Palmer, 1977, audiotape (Special Collections, Ina Dillard Russell Library, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville).

4 Emmett W. Bashful interview by Felix Armfield, June 28, 1994, audiotape, tape 1, Behind the Veil Project. Most relevant oral histories refer to the ubiquity of corporal punishment; most also imply that it was an effective method of discipline.

5 George E. Cunningham, "Reasons for Belated Education: A Study of the Plight of Older Negro Teachers," Journal of Negro Education, 27 (Spring 1958), 195–200; "Conference of Executive Secretaries of State Teachers Associations and the Phelps-Stokes Fund, September 25–27, 1960," pp. 4–5, box 87, Virginia Teachers Association Papers (Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University, Petersburg); Basile Miller to Daniel E. Byrd, [1967], folder 2, box 3, Daniel E. Byrd Papers (Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.). According to one study, however, by 1952 "there was only 0.3 of a year's difference" in the training of black and white teachers in the South. The same study also asserted that in Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, black teachers hadmore years of training than white teachers. See Truman Mitchell Pierce, White and Negro Schools in the South: An Analysis of Biracial Education (Englewood Cliffs, 1955), 200. Such statistics do not measure the quality and effectiveness of the training received. The comparatively low pass rates among African Americans taking the National Teachers Examination in the postintegration era have been well documented. Indeed, rates of failure have been so high as to deter many blacks from entering the profession, contributing to a long-term decline in the number of black teachers. See, for example, Beverly B. Dupre, "Problems Regarding the Survival of Future Black Teachers in Education," Journal of Negro Education, 55 (Winter 1986), 58.

6 Charles S. Johnson, Growing Up in the Black Belt: Negro Youth in the Rural South (1941; New York, 1967), 104–7, 122, 128–34; Allison Davis and John Dollard, Children of Bondage: The Personality Development of Negro Youth in the Urban South (Washington, 1940), 281–86; E. Franklin Frazier, Negro Youth at the Crossways: Their Personality Development in the Middle States (1940; New York, 1967), 108–11. On the lack of evidence that segregation fostered feelings of inferiority, see Daryl M. Scott, Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche, 1880–1996 (Chapel Hill, 1997). On the varied nature of schoolchildren's attitudes toward color, according to research conducted in the 1930s, see J. Masuoka and Charles S. Johnson, eds., The Social World of the Negro Youth (Nashville, 1946), 9, 28, 78–79, 99, 142–43, 216.

7 Howard N. Rabinowitz, "Half a Loaf: The Shift from White to Black Teachers in the Negro Schools of the Urban South, 1865–1890," Journal of Southern History, 40 (Nov. 1974), 565–94; "An Address to the Colored Citizens of the City of Petersburg, to the Public and To Whom It May Concern," n.d., folder 16, box 1, Henry Williams Papers (Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library).

8 Jacqueline Jones, Soldiers of Light and Love: Northern Teachers and Georgia Blacks, 1865–1873 (1980; Athens, Ga., 1992), 65–67; Betty Mansfield, "'That Fateful Class': Black Teachers of Virginia's Freedmen, 1861–1882" (Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1980), 251–52; Bertram Wyatt-Brown, "Black Schooling during Reconstruction," in The Web of Southern Social Relations, ed. Walter B. Fraser Jr., R. Frank Saunders Jr., and Jon R. Wakleyn (Athens, Ga., 1985), 149–50; Louis R. Harlan, "Desegregation in New Orleans Public Schools during Reconstruction," American Historical Review, 67 (April 1962), 672–75; Donald E. DeVore and Joseph Logsdon, Crescent City Schools: Public Education in New Orleans, 1841–1991 (Lafayette, La., 1991), 68–81. The University of South Carolina was the only other significant example of an integrated institution of public education in the South. See William P. Vaughan, Schools for All: The Blacks and Public Education in the South, 1865–1877 (Lexington, Ky., 1974), 110–18.

9 U.S. Congress, House, Recent Election in Louisiana, 44 Cong., 2 sess., 1877, H. Doc. 34, part 2, p. 349.

10 Clarence E. Walker, A Rock in a Weary Land: The African Methodist Episcopal Church during the Civil War and Reconstruction (Baton Rouge, 1982), 51–55, 75–77; T. G. Steward, Fifty Years in the Gospel Ministry, 1864 to 1914 (Philadelphia, 1921), 44, Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill < > (Nov. 3, 2003); J. W. Hood, One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; or, The Centennial of African Methodism (New York, 1895), 16, ibid. < > (Nov. 3, 2003); James T. Campbell, Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa (Chapel Hill, 1998), 55; Marcus C. S. Noble, A History of the Public Schools of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1930), 291; U.S. Congress, House, Freedmen's Bureau, 39 Cong., 1 sess., 1866, H. Ex. Doc. 34, p. 221.

11 U.S. Congress, House, Recent Election in Louisiana, part 1, p. 144.

12 Paul Yandle, "Joseph Charles Price and His 'Peculiar Work,' Part I," North Carolina Historical Review, 70 (Jan. 1993), 46; June Odessa Patton, "Major Richard Robert Wright Sr. and Black Higher Education in Georgia, 1880–1920" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1980), 274; "Minutes of the American Association of Educators of Colored Youth: Session of 1894: session of 1894, held at Baltimore, July 24, 25, 26, 27, 1894," p. 75, in African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818–1907, inAmerican Memory < > (Nov. 3, 2003); Edmund L. Drago, Initiative, Paternalism, and Race Relations: Charleston's Avery Normal Institute (Athens, Ga., 1990), 174–76; DeVore and Logsdon, Crescent City Schools, 205–7.

13 Veronica B. Hill interview by Edith R. Ambrose, Nov. 7, 1990, audiotape, United Teachers of New Orleans Collection (Louisiana and Special Collections, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans, La.).

14 Ambrose Caliver, "Some Problems in the Education and Placement of Negro Teachers," Journal of Negro Education, 4 (Jan. 1935), 99; Michael Fultz, "African American Teachers in the South, 1890–1940: Powerlessness and the Ironies of Expectations and Protest," History of Education Quarterly, 35 (Winter 1995), 402.

15 NAACP Legal and Educational Fund to Foundations, "Program to Protect Negro Teachers from Dismissal as a Result of Integration of Public Schools," n.d., folder 13, box 9, John W. Davis Papers (Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C.); Thurgood Marshall, "Report on Department of Teacher Information and Security, January 1–June 30, 1955," ibid. The Department of Teacher Information and Security was funded in part by the black teachers' associations of the South.

16 Martin D. Jenkins, "Problems Related to Racial Integration and Some Suggested Approaches to Those Problems—A Critical Summary," Journal of Negro Education, 21 (Summer 1952), 411–21; Delegate Assembly Session, "Court Action and Other Means of Achieving Racial Integration in Education," ibid., 386, 396; Chas. H. Thompson, "Editorial Comment: Administrators of Negro Colleges and the Color Line in Higher Education in the South," ibid., 17 (Autumn 1948), 445; Chas. H. Thompson, "Editorial Comment: Negro Teachers and the Elimination of Segregated Schools," ibid., 20 (Spring 1951), 135–39.

17 Thurgood Marshall to William Hastie, April 23, 1940, in Papers of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ed. August Meier and John Bracey (microfilm, 28 parts, University Publications of America, 1982), part 3 (19 reels), series B; Walter White, "Some Tactics Which Should Supplement Resort to the Courts in Achieving Racial Integration in Education," Journal of Negro Education, 21 (Summer 1952), 340–41; Thompson, "Editorial Comment: Administrators of Negro Colleges and the Color Line in Higher Education in the South," 441, 445; Juan Williams, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary (New York, 1998), 182. The Supreme Court ruled that Missouri had to provide legal training within the state for a qualified black student and that in the absence of any other in-state provision, the black applicant should be admitted to the University of Missouri's law school. The decision put the southern states on alert; unless they provided blacks with a "substantially equal" provision for graduate training, they would be faced with integrating all-white graduate schools. It also indicated that the Court was becoming less tolerant of the gross inequalities in public education that made mockery of the separate but equal formula for squaring segregation with the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. See Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938).

18 F. D. Patterson, "The Private Negro College in a Racially-Integrated System of Higher Education," Journal of Negro Education, 21 (Summer 1952), 376; Jonas A. Rosenthal, "Negro Teachers' Attitudes toward Desegregation," ibid., 26 (Winter 1957), 66–70; Hurley H. Doddy and G. Franklin Edwards, "Apprehensions of Negro Teachers Concerning Desegregation in South Carolina," ibid., 24 (Winter 1955), 38.

19 Michael Schultz Jr., The National Education Association and the Black Teacher: The Integration of a Professional Organization (Coral Gables, 1970), 70–105, 152–54; John W. Davis, "NCOSTA: Review and Prospect," Feb. 8, 1963, folder 21, box 2, Byrd Papers. In 1955 the black teachers' associations of the southern and border states pledged $16,950 a year to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, channeled through the National Conference of State Teachers Associations (NCOSTA). No contributions came from Mississippi, however, and practically none from Alabama. Teachers also supported the NAACP through the Prince Hall Masons.

20 John W. Davis, "Statement to Members of the Board of Directors of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund," May 11, 1955, folder 5, box 23, Davis Papers; J. Mills Thornton III, Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma (Tuscaloosa, 2002), 105–7; Lucius H. Pitts to Claude Purrell, July 1960, box 87, Virginia Teachers Association Papers.

21 Mark V. Tushnet, The NAACP's Legal Strategy against Segregated Education, 1925–1950 (Chapel Hill, 1987), 151.

22 Constance Baker Motley, Equal Justice under Law: An Autobiography (New York, 1998), 107; Constance Baker Motley interview by Jack Bass, June 21, 1979, transcript, p. 72, Jack Bass Collection (Tulane Law Library). For an argument that Thurgood Marshall underestimated the strength of black support for equalization, see Amilcar Shabazz, "The Opening of the Southern Mind: The Desegregation of Higher Education in Texas, 1865–1965" (Ph.D. diss., University of Houston, 1996), 120–30.

23 Robert W. Hooker, Displacement of Black Teachers in the Eleven Southern States (Nashville, 1970), 1–27; Charles C. Bolton, "The Last Stand of Massive Resistance: Mississippi Public School Integration, 1970," Journal of Mississippi History, 61 (Winter 1999), 347–49; Winson Hudson and Constance Curry, Mississippi Harmony: Memoirs of a Freedom Fighter (New York, 2002), 98–99.

24 "NEA Task Force Report on School Desegregation in Louisiana, February 15–22, 1970," folder 6, box 8, Papers of the NAACP Field Director for Louisiana (Amistad Research Center); J. B. Henderson interview by Wallace, July 20, 1994, audiotape, tape 1, Behind the Veil Project; Johnny S. Butler, "Black Educators in Louisiana: A Question of Survival," Journal of Negro Education, 43 (Winter 1974), 14–24; Cyrus Jackson interview by Ellis, Aug. 10, 1994, audiotape, tape 1, Behind the Veil Project. In some towns children boycotted classes and marched on school board meetings to demand the reinstatement of black principals and the retention of black high schools. See David S. Cecelski, Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, North Carolina, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South (Chapel Hill, 1994), 82–162; Adam Fairclough, Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915–72 (Athens, Ga., 1995), 451.

25 Tom Dent, Southern Journey: A Return to the Civil Rights Movement (New York, 1997), 218, 326–33; U.S. Department of Commerce, The Social and Economic Status of the Black Population in the United States: An Historical Overview, 1790–1978 (Washington, n.d.), 88; "JBHE Ranks the States in the Employment of Black Teachers," Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (no. 21, Autumn 1998), 25–27. Black enrollment in public schools as a proportion of a total enrollment climbed from 14.8% in 1970 to 17% in 1996, while the proportion of black teachers declined from 8.1% to 7.3%.

26 Thomas Sowell, Education: Assumption versus History: Collected Papers (Stanford, 1986), 7–37; Daniel E. Byrd, "Activity Report," Dec. 1972, folder 3, box 4, Byrd Papers.

27 Cecelski, Along Freedom Road, 8–9; Thelma D. Perry,History of the American Teachers Association (Washington, 1975), 362–66; Allan H. West, The National Education Association: The Power Base for Education (New York, 1980), 117–59; Ernest J. Middleton, History of the Louisiana Education Association (Washington, 1984), 114–15; Percy E. Murray, History of the North Carolina Teachers Association (Washington, 1984), 62.

28 Robinson, Bell Rings at Four, 128; James T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy (New York, 2001), 167.

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