A federal court in Mississippi, in its attempt to provide equal rights for both African-American and white students, has ordered a town to desegregate its school systems after a 50-year battle between the town and U.S. Department of Justice.
Up until now the schools in Cleveland were separated largely by race, with white and black students educated at different schools.
The order, passed late Friday by the U.S. District Court, mandates that the Cleveland School District must combine its junior high and middle school, bringing together public school students from separate races for the first time in 100 years.
“Six decades after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declared that ‘separate but equal has no place’ in public schools, this decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
It is important to note that the common belief circulating among both races is that white children attend better schools than children of color. Having separate buildings just deprives the students of their right to equal education and further promotes the belief. Placing children from both backgrounds in the same environment will ensure the integrated education for black and whites and will also bridge the gap between the communities.
Two generations after the civil rights battles, the U.S. still struggles to guarantee tolerance and equity for minority groups, and so this move is surely one in the right direction.