School Desegregation: 1954–1964

April 29, 1964

Report Outline
School Racial Struggle After Ten Years
Slow Progress of Desegregation in South
Agitation Over Integration in the North

School Racial Struggle After Ten Years

Continuing Effort to Enforce Decision of 1954

Ten years will have passed, may 17, since the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its historic decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools. But the struggle to put an end to separate instruction of white and Negro children is still being waged—and with increasing heat. The principal recent development in that struggle is the growth of Negro agitation against racial segregation within supposedly integrated school systems north of the Mason-Dixon Line, One-day school boycotts have been staged in city after city in the North. Although the U.S. Civil Rights Commission's report for 1963 praised New York City for its “strenuous efforts to limit segregation in its schools,” the city has been subjected to two school boycotts this year,

Negro-rights organizations plan to commemorate the Supreme Court decision of 1954 with demonstrations that will emphasize the persistence of school segregation in all parts of the country. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is sponsoring a nationwide closed-circuit telecast on May 14 to raise $1 million in support of its civil rights activities; a large part of the money is needed to finance extensive litigation seeking full enforcement of the 1954 mandate. New York State branches of N.A.A.C.P. disclosed at a recent conference that on May 18 they would stage demonstrations to protest racial imbalance in schools. The association's education specialist, June Shagaloff, told conference delegates that “We are at war in this fight”; she condemned in particular “the northern voices of racial prejudice and bigotry” among those who “say they're for integration but… mean separate schools.”

Meanwhile, the fight to obliterate legal barriers raised in the South against compliance with the Supreme Court decision continues in full vigor. According to the Southern Education Reporting Service, the decision gave rise to adoption of more than 400 laws and resolutions and to around 350 court cases in the 17 southern and border states required by state laws to maintain separate school facilities before the Supreme Court held those laws unconstitutional.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Segregation and Desegregation
Apr. 23, 2004  School Desegregation
Oct. 18, 1996  Rethinking School Integration
Feb. 24, 1995  Housing Discrimination
Dec. 26, 1975  Busing Reappraisal
May 03, 1974  Desegregation After 20 Years
Aug. 24, 1973  Educational Equality
Sep. 06, 1972  Blacks on Campus
Mar. 01, 1972  School Busing and Politics
Aug. 16, 1967  Open Housing
Apr. 29, 1964  School Desegregation: 1954–1964
Feb. 06, 1963  Interracial Housing
Aug. 27, 1958  School Integration: Fifth Year
Jan. 15, 1958  Residential Desegregation
Oct. 16, 1957  Legal Processes in Race Relations
Oct. 17, 1956  Enforcement of School Integration
Jan. 12, 1955  School Desegregation
Sep. 03, 1954  Segregation in Churches
Oct. 08, 1952  Race Segregation
Nov. 07, 1947  Negro Segregation
Civil Rights: African Americans
Diversity Issues
Segregation and Desegregation