Chapter

Black Public Education in Atlanta

Alton Hornsby

in Black Power in Dixie

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780813032825
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032825.003.0009
Black Public Education in Atlanta

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This chapter focuses on the quest for education by black Atlantans. Like other African Americans who were awarded greater freedoms after the civil war, the black Atlantans recognized the significance of education. Recognizing the potent power of education, black leaders made education and learning the top priority of their racial agenda. However, despite these efforts, in the middle of the twentieth century, the black writings, essays, and studies revealed that black education was still separated and unequal. By 1950, the black leaders of Atlanta decided to sue for equality, but not for the elimination of the system of dual schooling. This action was amended in 1952, when African Americans argued that segregated schools were inherently unequal. They asked for a unitary school system but their case was later dismissed for lack of prosecution. After 1954, the Atlanta Board of Education passed a case for abolishing the dual school system but the case was treated by the board with laxity. On January 1958, a lawsuit known as Calhoun v. Latimer was filed, it was decided that the segregation schemes in schools were unlawful. The most significant result of the white reaction to desegregation was white flight. These reactions provided an unintended opportunity for African Americans to become the majority population in the city and for black elected officials to control the government of the city for generations to come.

Keywords: education; Atlantans; African Americans; racial agenda; black education; dual school system; desegregation

Chapter.  13023 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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